Let’s talk about love. Let’s indulge our thoughts on one of the sentiments that fills our lives and gives meaning to our days, on the myriad opportunities we have to fall in love as we go through the motions of living. Not romantic love, necessarily. If we are lucky, we experience the heart-fluttering kind only a handful of times over the course of many decades.
No, I am talking about the simple falling for the people we briefly encounter whose kindness, courage, openess or joy brighten our days. How easy we forget, I thought, as I looked into the limpid blue eyes of a little girl, while showing her how to properly knot the blanket we were making. Out of earshot of her mother, I told her she and I kicked ass and were faster than anybody else. She blushed and laughed (and hopefully she didn’t go home and outed my swearing ways to her mom), a little conspirator for this blanket making Sunday afternoon, a child I ever so briefly felt love for.
Or for the woman to my left, who, in conversation, told me about her lumpectomy seven years ago, the chemo and radiation – all as matter of fact as I tell my story. I loved her for her impromptu honesty, her directness and open smile.
And what of the patient I sat with three times this week, the beautiful gentleman who, despite the massive doses of morphine, refuses to let go and fights on? I felt love for him too, for his struggle and his loneliness, for the privilege of caressing his forehead and holding his hand.
Making connections, meaningful ones, even for a fleeting moment, fills the memory bank and creates a reserve we can draw from in emotionally meager times. Why do we forget?
For Hennie Boshoff, whom I met only once, and the magic of Villa Kruger – May your spirit live on