Saturday, February 04, 2017

On Choosing joy!

The Happy Hour book Group (yes, we should be taken seriously) chose the book When Breath Becomes Air for the January discussion. It's written by and about Paul Kalanithi, a 36 year old man on the verge of completing ten years of training  in Neurosurgery, when he is diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.

At 36, his life was laid out in front of him, And then this. Did he dare hope for any kind of future. His oncologist offered him hope but encouraged him to consider what was most important to him. He and his wife decided to have a child. He performed surgery until he could no more. He started to write this book.

I was struck with his courage and in spite of this tough diagnosis, his will to move forward,

I shared with my book group the story of Lee.

In 2013, my friend Lee Fowler died from cancer. She was another remarkable person who refused to let cancer dominate any portion of her life. She always said that she was going to live until she died and that is exactly what she did. About three months before she passed away she sent an email to a number of her quilter friends. She wanted to make a pickle dish quilt but didn't think she could get it done on her own. Would any of us be willing to make a few blocks. I'm sure, before the week was out, she had all the blocks she needed to make that quilt. Other friends helped her sew it together and another quilted the top and bound it.

Here are pictures of the quilt, most of the gang and Lee.

Each of us who worked on this quilt was given the opportunity to have it for a month or so. It came with a journal so that we could write our memories of  Lee, Having the quilt gave me a chance to consider what a gift she had given all of us. She pulled people together who cared for her and shared her quilt love and the work brought joy at a time which might other wise have been quite sad. We all pulled together for Lee. And then she gave it back to us for a bit. It is a joyful, sunny quilt.

I am amazed at how people face death. Lee showed us all to choose joy!