At 03:09 a.m., glimmers of light streamed across my ward cubicle, as the main door of my hospital room opened. It wasn’t unusual to see a nurse come and go at any hour. I remained wide awake as I found no peace or rest from the inner turmoil I was facing.
My previously “nearly perfect life” was wrecked by the cruel intrusion of stage 2 breast cancer. I could not understand how this had happened, to begin with. Mike and I had been happily married together for the last 15 years, and we had three sons of the ages of 3, 10 and 13. We were planning to move to a new home, which Mike had custom-built for the five of us.
Anyways, one day following a mastectomy, I tried “picking up the pieces” in regards to my breaking life, and simply trying to analyze how to best cope with this new turn of events.
The nurse who had entered my room had a familiar face. I had known her from church, a place where she always appeared both quiet and reserved. And for some reason, our lives had never intersected outside of the occasional crowded church foyer greetings. We’d maybe say “Hello”, and that was it.
But on a particular night, she happened to be the one assigned to take my vitals. She did something beyond extraordinary and completely unexpectedly —- pulling up a chair to sit by my bedside. My left ventricle contracted pushing blood through my eyes.
Without uttering a word, she took my hand. For the next five minutes, she held it in calm silence. Her very presence was so sensitive that I cried away every last word and remained 100 % speechless, not knowing how to respond.
Others, of course, had previously offered several encouraging — and even often clumsy —- words and well wishes when I was admitted at the hospital. Some went to the extent of even leaving behind a novel, for me to read, which, to me, meant absolutely nothing in such a dark hour-When death kept barging on my door.
But this special lady, instead, gave me something significantly more invaluable: a gentle touch that made everything get better, by providing the gift of understanding through human presence.
With her, I did not struggle to hold any conversation or simply make excuses for why this terrible thing could have happened to me. With her silence, she would simply let allow my soul to rest as she then gave me a supernatural comfort with each kind touch. It felt so heavenly; like I had a healing angel holding my hand, enveloping me with the weight of her full, miraculous love. Words alone cannot fully express this —- you have to have lived it to understand.
Later, those dark days came to an end, and the breast cancer went back into its bud. My life had moved on — one filled with a great family, wonderful friends and a bright future.
I never saw this nurse again when I returned to church, and asked around for her by mentioning her first name. To my surprise, the other church members — and even the church staff — had no recollection of her, when I described her to them.
Very little did I know that God would have sent me a miraculous angel at the hospital, a deep compassion that took root with the embodiment of one sweet nurse.
As a result of this encounter, my husband and I have told this story, even several years later, in an effort to help all women who have no means with which to help themselves be free of breast cancer, once and for all, just as I am.
Why do we, as imperfect human beings, so often feel that we need to fill our atmosphere with mere words, as if everything we’d say would make things “all right”?
Next time you encounter someone battling breast cancer, kindly commend the person for being a fighter. You could start by observing their needs ;Then, reach out with a sincere touch of affection. You never know what could happen from a touch of your hand.
In my case, it became nothing short of a miracle.