“Tantos veces eu soltei foguete…”
I never learned those lyrics. Miriam always sang this song, and I accompanied her on the guitar and pretended that I was singing, too, but, of course, I hopelessly floundered in Portuguese. Miriam used to play in her young years, too, and now it was all coming back to her, and, as time went by, the guitar became the anchorage, or the lifeboat, in the raging sea of her oncological diagnosis. A year passed, and, once, when I gave the guitar to Miriam, she could not press a chord. In several more weeks, the arm stopped moving altogether. We met in the waiting room eventually, and Miriam did not look me in the eyes. I said that I still could not master the lyrics, and she started to sing…
She sang and cried. With the last chord, she breathed out and told me that during the last five minutes she felt alive again. And she laughed. About a month later, her oncologist came up to me and quietly told me that Miriam was gone.
«Moonriver» was another song that we often shared. Now it will always stay «Miriam’s song».
My city is burnt to the ground.
No way I am rising from ashes
any time soon.
It’s been half the moon
since I started feeling this way.
The air is too loud,
and the day
ahead brings nothing but splashes
of pain in my temples and blur in my eyes…
But wait! I’m a bird in disguise —
and I’m flying!
My utmost consolation,
my focal point,
my breathing pattern,
is that in the relatively foreseeable future,
for a month at least,
I shall stare straight before myself
directly into the ocean,
and if I shall have to write
those will only be some random words
on the sand.
May 4, 2017. The day I left my dream job.
Я так и не выучила слова. Мириам всегда пела эту песню, а я аккомпанировала ей на гитаре и делала вид, что тоже пою, но, конечно, безнадёжно путалась в португальском. Мириам тоже играла в юности, и теперь вспоминала, и постепенно гитара стала для неё опорой, спасательной шлюпкой в бущующем море онкологического диагноза. Прошёл год, и однажды я дала Мириам гитару, а у неё не получилось зажать аккорд. Ещё через несколько недель рука перестала двигаться совсем. Мы встретились в приёмном отделении, и Мириам не смотрела мне в глаза. Я сказала, что никак не могу выучить слова, и она запела.
Она пела и плакала. С последним аккордом она выдохнула и сказала, что за последние пять минут снова почувствовала себя живой. И рассмеялась. Еще через месяц ко мне подошла врач-онколог и сказала, что Мириам больше нет.
«To each of us is given only a moment. Each moment.
Our faith, while uniquely and powerfully tied to past and future, is all about _now_: What will I do, in this moment of time, to reflect God’s love and grow in Christ? <…> And each moment is potential magic».
«We must have some boundaries. Although I never wish to be limited by my job description, I must for the sake of my sanity, if nothing else, erect some fences indicating how far I am capable of going. My fences are:
Don’t ask the _why_ question.
Don’t bang your head on what you are incapable of doing.
Don’t pump your ego on what you are capable of doing.
Babies with cancer, little girls with a leg severed at the knee, abusive parents, the way death often swallows up the last ounce of energy and hope, the look in mother’s eyes on the day of her child’s last, weak grasp — these things are beyond me. I simply choose to believe, by an act of will and by the authority of the Word of God, that God, somehow, is in control»
«My greater struggle, I think, is feeling that I should be doing more. Sometimes with my bags of kazoos and maracas, I feel so helpless, so limited at the face of such suffering. I feel like a match in a desert light. <…> Again and again, I have to remind myself that I am simply to do what God leads me to do and leave the question of eternity with Him».
Deforia Lane, «Music as Medicine»