I didn’t know her name

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Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.  ~ Mother Teresa

Waiting to hear my name over the intercom. A quiet sense of dread. I don’t want to go.

Across the room sits a dignified elderly woman. She quietly talks to the woman sitting beside her. I catch her glance and she smiles. A soft smile.

I hear her tell her companion this is her initial radiation. She will be taking chemotherapy and radiation treatments at the same time. I personally know it will be an extremely difficult time. I finished my chemo before radiation started. I wasn’t sure I’d make it through chemo at my age, let alone both treatments at the same time.

They call my name. Time for my radiation treatment .

I see her the following day at my next scheduled treatment. She is called to the back before me this day.

After my treatment I walk through the facility exit and see her standing outside. I’m compelled to stop and see how she’s doing.

She takes my breath away as she quietly says there is nothing that can be done for her. Her time here is now very short. No further treatments are scheduled. Time is not her friend.

We stand in the warm sun. She knows I understand her emotion. Quiet acceptance met with her stoic dignity.

I gently but firmly hug her. I don’t want to let go.

I tell her I love her.

She says ‘I know’.

I turn and walk away.

I don’t know her name.

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