23 March 2010

My Hero . . .

. . . is actually a "she." No. She's not faster than a speeding bullet, but when I flash the Ms. B signal, she's there quicker than the speed of sound. I don't think she has x-ray vision although I'm certain she's psychic. No. I have not seen her leap across tall buildings. But, she's whip smart, beautiful, diligent, wise, strong, big-hearted, gentle, immensely creative, absolutely emphatic, wickedly funny, loyal, kind, intuitive, and incredibly strong -- -- all packed in a petite sprite of a person that is Ms. B. Yep! She's all that and a bag of chips (well, maybe a bag of baby carrots instead, since we're trying to be healthy here).

She sounds too good to be true, doesn't she? If I didn't have the fortune of working next to her each and every day, I would say so too. But, I did, and I still do. Her presence in my life has had such a grounding effect on me. She alone truly understood what it was like to battle cancer. She was attuned to its very obvious side-effects to the very stealth effects of chemotherapy. Though cancer manifested itself very obviously, there are so many other subtle (yet very deep and significant ) side effects of cancer that escape the naked eye. And how absolutely invaluable it was for me to have Ms. B by my side to validate that what I was going through was legitimate, no matter how seemingly trivial. She perceived what no one else saw and heard what no one else heard.

This is not only because of her incredible capacity for empathy but also unfortunately because she had also had her own bout with Lymphoma about a year or so before I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. I didn't know her as well then. But, I remember watching her navigate her illness with so much resolve, strength and dignity. One could not help but admire her resilient courage and determined cadence. And while I had my boyfriend with whom to partner during my illness, Ms. B did not have her fiance by her side when she was sick (he's in another state because that's where his work has taken him). I often wondered how scary and lonely it must have been during those times when the " cancer goonies" visited you in the middle of the night (for example) and Ms. B didn't have him there to tell her that she was going to be okay. But, without fail, she was always there, at work, soldiering on, as if she weren't sick at all. She never wanted extra special dispensation, but was always gracious to accept help from us, her colleagues, her friends and her loved ones.

Ms. B "set the tone" for me. By example, she showed me how to fight, and fight well. It's as if she passed her "boxing gloves" on to me and then continued to cheer me on. My only regret now is that I wasn't able to be for her (during her illness) what she had been for me when I was sick. I wish I could have given to her even a fraction of all that she had given to to me. Absent that, it is my hope to "pay it forward" some day and be able to be for someone else what she was for me.

This post is but a minor tribute to my sister-in-arms and my amiga sympatico! The heavens had sent so many gifts when I was sick and certainly one of the most endearingly wonderful ones was (and still is) Ms. B -- my hero!


WhiteStone said...

What a beautiful tribute, both to Mrs. B and only slightly indirectly to yourself. And to the rest of us who strive to live each day well and live it with compassion. This is so encouraging to me.

Karen said...

Good post. You've said that "I wish I could have given to her even a fraction of all that she had given to me."

Looking at it differently, I'll bet that Ms. B felt immensely honored to encourage and support you all along your journey, and that in turn, she was blessed by being your "hero" in more ways than you can even imagine.

How wonderful for the two of you to have each other!

ce_squared said...

Thanks, Ladies! You both have great perspective on the situation.

I'm glad to have shared her with you. :-)

Karen said...

Just checking in to see how you're doing! Hope you have a nice week! :)

ce_squared said...

Hi Karen~

I'm doing well -- a bit buried in other things. But thank you so much for checking in. Means a lot.


Bonita said...

Oh....I'm just reading this now. I don't know what to say. Really, and you know me...not often at a loss for words.

I'll just humbly say thank you. My wish at the time was to take it all away from you, to have you not go through what I did. And since I couldn't do that, I could only love you, hold your hand, listen, and say "what a b*tch!" in unison.

How did you know The Incredibles is one of my favorite movies? I bought it and watched it with the cats to cheer me on some not-so-good days.

Ms. B

Bonita said...

BTW - you were there for me...always. A calm presence, willing to take on anything. You really wanted to be helpful, in your wonderful gracious, grounded way, and sometimes I was just too hard-headed to accept it.

Karen said it well...I was honored to encourage and support you. You handled your tribulation with such dignity, maturity, and strength. But the taxi...criminy. :-)

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