On December 7 I met with a long-time friend who I only get to see every five years or so. She asked if we could talk without attribution of her name, and of course I respect her choice. It was a pleasure to get coffee with her and catch up, although some of her news was difficult to hear and absorb.
Let’s call her “Hannah.”
First, second, and foremost, her values are family. She’s the mother of four, grandmother of nine, and counting. She has been self-employed as a marketing consultant for years, in order to afford the luxury, not of money, but of TIME. When one of her daughters is expecting, Hannah clears her calendar for three months to move in and resume grand maternal aid and presence.
Hannah’s daily mission is to stay active, maintaining clients and filling every moment. A former belly dancer, she maintains her rhythm now days on her five-piece drum kit. But again, most important is creating memories with her children and grandchildren. We both shared our reminisces of growing up in 3-generational households or families, absorbing the value of grandparents in our days.
When I asked her about how she copes with the nature of UNCERTAINTY, Hannah informed me in a straight-forward tone that she had developed breast cancer, and beaten it, and recently has been diagnosed with yet another type of cancer, and learned first-hand the challenges of navigating the medical treatment system as a patient. Although she is an intelligent, well-educated woman who has lived in a family of health providers, she has discovered the necessity for research into one’s medical needs and treatment, to not assume that a specialist’s plan is the best course of action. Fortunately, she has been invited to participate in clinical trials, allowing her access to further information.
Hannah’s 5-Year expectation? To stay alive. And to BE alive, present in every moment.
Thank you, “Hannah,” for your compassion and your courage. I so appreciate the time.