Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘healing’

The child was more terrified than she had ever been before. Though to most she had looked like a little princess – and little more than a diminutive damsel in all-consuming distress – she had proved herself a warrior, stronger than any princess could ever dream of being. She had navigated the darkest forest with its coarse, cold blanket of nightmarish shadows and confronted her own death face to face, before defeating it as she had done before. She had not vanquished her formidable foe alone, but had been equipped with arrows of the love and support of the many who had rallied their thoughts around her in some distant world, whispering words of encouragement into the air that somehow reached her ear, filling her soul with strength and light and life. They had hoped and believed, and she had clung to their far-off words and thoughts with all her might, knowing that she must somehow keep herself alive, if only for the sake of those who had made her the object of their worried wishes and desperate prayers.

Slowly, the child had lifted herself from the dank forest floor, running her hands mournfully over the bruises and scratches that covered her arms, leg and shoulders, clawed and torn by the sharp branches of indistinguishable, sinister trees that lined and spread themselves with malice across the forest path, covering it from her view almost completely, causing her to stumble and crash into the jagged bark of their rough trunks. These were nothing like the beloved tree she had known before the darkness had come, the one that reached skywards into the sunshine, beckoning her to flit her way from branch to glorious branch til she landed like a butterfly on the one from which a dazzling mobile of delicious dreams and sugary words fluttered in the magical breeze. That was the tree of Infinite Childhood. These were trees of Inevitable Death. 

And though she knew that death could not be fought forever and she doubted herself for more than a moment, she came to remember with all her heart that she was truly only a child, and that this was not her time to die. Exhausted and broken, she had searched within the curls of rusty brown leaves and found within them an extra drop of strength each day. Some days she could not drink them in at all, her dry throat struggling to swallow anything that might hope to sustain her. Days and weeks passed before finally she had completed her transformation from vanquished victim to pale, frail princess to the triumphant heroine of her own fantastic fairytale where darkness had been defeated once more. Somewhere, in some far off land, those who had hoped and prayed and wished and believed for her recovery sensed her growing strength and rejoiced for her in their streets.

Now the child stood at the final edge of the forest that had threatened to devour her, and nothing in her compelled her to even think of looking back. She only desired to move out and forward, leaving the darkness behind her. But from where she stood now, there was no discernible path to lead her out. The dark, familiar path she had travelled over the past few months seemed to have dissolved entirely beneath her feet, and stretched endlessly before her now was the absolute desolation of unimaginable nothingness. In moments of prior delirium, she had dreamed that at this point clear paths would reveal themselves, presenting brightly-lit choices by which she would navigate herself either back to the life she knew, or onwards in a better direction. But the distant, dimming horizon held no clues how she might traverse the barrenness spread before her. 

And even though the battle had been won, for Death was now banished into the indeterminate future, the future that spanned between this moment and death had become so absolutely unknown, and this frightened the child more than death’s former certainty. She had reached the edge of the path, but her heart was overcome with the fullest fear of the infinite nothing that seemed to lie before her. A brief moment tempted her to take a few short steps back into the forest, which for all its savage darkness offered some familiarity. Instead, because she could not figure out what else she might do, she slid down onto the edge of the darkening path and wept herself into some sort of confused, distracted sleep. In the gurgling mubble of slumber, she dreamed that when she woke, some path might unexpectedly present itself to her in the morning’s gently filtered light. 
 

Read Full Post »

Just two days after having the largest of her five tumours removed in surgery, Angelica was ecstatic to finally pull herself out of her lumpy hospital bed and into a soft chair beside a window, looking out across the nearby rooftops in the direction of some distant grey  mountains. She was not comfortable, but she was satisfied, just to know that she had somehow found a small reserve of strength to lift her body and her spirits and to know that her recovery was truly underway.

The past forty-eight hours had been little more than a blur to her. There were conversations and visitors she could barely remember at all, and other vaguely whispered questions that echoed inside her clouded mind like a carousel of dusty dreams, like ‘Have I had surgery yet?’, followed again and again by the exact same question only moments or hours later. She was relieved to feel a scrap of colour return to her paper-white cheeks with just a few licks of a cool icy-pole, and now finally, dressed in her own nightshirt instead of the rough, hospital issued wrap-around, she felt that she was finally returning to and reclaiming some small part of her own pre-surgery self.

She smiled at the small nightstand in the corner of the otherwise dull private room, covered entirely with orange and yellow lilies, peach gerbras, red carnations and glittery apricot singapore orchids. Then there were the helium balloons that always followed her to lift her out of her darkest moments – a pixie flying with wings and wand outstretched, pointing beyond the window, inviting Angelica to fly outside. A second bright balloon, rounder than a bubble, was adorned with happy golden fish and coral and a treasure chest, cheerfully emblazoned with the words ‘Hope You’re Feeling Better’. And every moment, she did feel better, and stronger, and somehow more alive.

Her eyes moved across the nightstand to see a small teddy bear dressed like a bumble bee, a pink dolphin and a purple octopus, a magically scented cloth rose and a life sized cut-out of a Disney mermaid, smiling with enormous blue eyes back to her where she sat in her chair. A large canvas artwork formed the backdrop to this all, hand-drawn by her best friend, Langley, representing all the characters in all the stories they had written together over many months past. There was the magical white haired boy in the long blue cloak, with the girl in pink overalls with pink bows in her hair on his left and the beautiful girl in the pretty red dress on his right, all staring far into the picture towards the enormous Friendship Tree. From its branches dangled an empty swing  and the delightful ladybug, dragonfly and butterfly mobiles the three children always loved to decorate the branches of their beloved tree with. Nearby, a ladybug, a butterfly and a dragonfly sat quietly perched atop of their respective flowers. A red  rose sat sheltered inside a glass dome beside a golden path, and the ears and tail of a red fennec fox could be spied just slightly emerging from a golden field of wheat.

In the far distance, there was an Ivory Tower, threatened by clouds but decorated in rainbow paint by some rescuers who knew how destructive that tower could be to the princess trapped inside it. A sheep cloud, a candle and a Book of Dreams appeared to be suspended in a vast blue sky that hovered in stillness over a white paper boat that floated past the Island of Lost Children, governed by a Little Prince, the hero of yet another magic-filled story. A starry night sky filled the final top corner, glistening with stars that were full of wishes just waiting to be wished. Each nurse and visitor to Angelica’s hospital room would gravitate towards the canvas, asking ‘Who did that? And what does it all mean?’ ‘This is the tale of the mighty Friendship Tree,’ Angelica would reply, her eyes sparkling with the knowledge of many stories told and many still to be written. ‘This is a Tree rich with the fruit of imagination, a testament to the fact that True Friendship is one of the strongest forces that can be imagined.’

Outside of this canvas, Angelica knew that the days, weeks and months ahead would present her with a myriad of challenges, the like of which she had never faced before. Yet for her, the treatments to come – the many months of recovery, radiation and chemotherapy that would put her life on hold and challenge her to the fraying edges of her courage and strength, were abstract and ephemeral compared to the world that came to life now on the canvas on the hospital nightstand. This world was vibrant, magical, powerful and whimsical. It could never fail to restore her faith, hope and delight. There was powerful medicine here that could completely bring her tired body back to life.

The light that shone through the hospital window and onto the canvas was filled with promise that one day – soon – every aspect of life would be vibrant and colourful once again. Now here came the orderly with her free-fluids dinner: some bland pumpkin soup, red jelly, lemon sorbet and a small tub of custard. Today, she had begun to eat again, even if the bites could only be tiny ones, and tomorrow she would begin to write again, crafting passionately magical, whimsical words to hang like butterfly mobiles from the branches of her beloved Friendship Tree.

Read Full Post »