My first impression of the patient in room 22 was that she was tiny and lovely and had the most peaceful smile. Her son and daughter-in-law were there with her, and graciously welcomed my unexpected arrival in the room. When I told them what I do with words and art, the son told me his mother would relate to that because she was a writer. She nodded with wide-eyed sweetness.
I love meeting other writers, so I asked what kind of writing she did. It turns out she doesn’t write anymore, but had published 56 books during her career. If there had been a heart monitor on me right then, I can’t imagine the hyped-up pattern it would have shown. WHAT?!! 56 books???
Trying to regain some composure, I began probing to see what word I might draw for her that would bring a positive element to her experience. The health episode that had brought her to the hospital was still affecting her mind’s agility, so her family helped her find a word, and the word was ADVENTURE.
Not only had this unassuming woman written 56 books, she had also traveled the world. It was beautiful to watch her connect with her own words to tell me about her adventures. Having three children was right there at the top of her list, followed by the many cities and countries she had visited. Her son was completely engaged in our conversation, and between the two of them, told one story after another of their most unusual lives. I almost felt like I was reading one of her novels, the stories were so rich.
Earlier, as I walked from my office to the floor where I would spend that morning, I had set an intention to be placed where I was meant to be. I wasn’t thinking that was about me, but it turned out, it was.
I am constantly reminded that we never know whether we are there for someone else, or they are there for us. And that a patient can be the exact medicine a healer needs. And that words matter, even when they are difficult to find in a mind that has lived through the best of adventures.
But mostly, that looking back on a life of adventure shows up on one’s face as peace. And that is something I hope we’ll all get to have.
© 2019 Kathy Curtis