I had my first child at age 40, and my second at 41. I had my first bout with cancer at age 45 (breast) and my second at 47 (ovarian) and most recently, three years ago (pancreatic) at age 58. In between there were diagnostic tests, surgeries and chemotherapies. Thus, during most of my childrens’ lives I was presented with the prospect of their being motherless sooner than usual. This was and is a heavy burden, given the fact that I am a single mother.
Gradually, I, an ObGyn physician, noticed a change in my relationship to my patients. It started with the young women. While addressing their concerns and questions I would visualize my daughters and then tend to them as I hope others would care for my daughters; with validation, acceptance, encouragement, gentle suggestions to keep them on the path of fairness and respect for others, and with forgiveness.
I found that I could extend my visualization of my children, to their older years yet to come, and extended the same nurture toward older patients, friends and neighbors. And, in the process I have gained the belief that in some way my efforts will echo forth and encourage nurture of everyone’s children both young and old.. And with this belief comes love for them, for me, and for my children.
Ironically, another process was happening simultaneously. I received tremendous support from my friends and family at my most disabled times. I felt their love in the meals they cooked for me, the groceries they brought to me, and the transportation they provided for me. I felt at first unworthy as I would suspect that “now I am able to cook for myself”. But I learned to recognize the nurture and the love in their deeds. Perhaps that was the “cure” that has kept me alive. Currently I am cooking for a neighbor undergoing chemotherapy and driving a friend for her radiation treatments. I now realize the gift I was giving to my friends in allowing them to give me their aide, and to gain their reward..
My message is not, “treat adults as children.”. “Give everyone unconditional love” would be closer, but that is just a concept. My message is that the guided imagery of visualizing your children within everybody, causes the love to flow.
This I believe. Do unto others as you would have them do unto your children.
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