Monday, July 5, 2010

Two Raisins

I participated in a mindfulness study a couple of years ago.  Women with breast cancer were invited to this study to see whether practicing mindfulness regularly would make a difference in immune system activity.  We were taught how to meditate, a little yoga, and other mindful exercises.

On the first night, as these dozen women sat in a circle, we briefly shared our journeys that led us to become participants in this study.  Once we got to know a little about each other, it was time to begin with a little exercise I've since nicknamed, "Two Raisins."  The leader placed two raisins in our hands, and she would then coach us in "mindfully experiencing" these raisins. But as she placed those raisins in MY hand, I looked at them, looked up and looked right into the eyes of the girl directly across from me.  The one sitting right next to the leader.  Gina.  And when I looked into her eyes I saw the same thing my eyes must have been telling her.  Neither of us liked raisins!!  She mouthed "I hate raisins".  We both smiled.

At the break, Gina and I sat and talked.  We talked about life with breast cancer and she shared what her life had been like dealing with metastatic breast cancer.  We talked about our families.  We connected.  I loved her smile.  I loved her outlook on life's obstacles.  I loved hearing how she reestablished her relationship with her dad because of her cancer. I got angry with her sister (even though I'd never met her) when her sister was a little too blunt about survival rates for her type of cancer.  We just connected. 

When the study was completed 8 weeks later, we kept in contact via e-mail.  Not often.  Mostly as an update on what she was next going thru for treatment.  Tried to get together a couple of times, but the timing just didn't work out. 

As I was watching TV last night, I saw a commercial that reminded me of Gina.  And I realized it had been a while since I'd received an update.  Checked my last sent email, and it was last November.  Hmmmm... she'd never gone that long before.  I googled her name.  And found her obituary.  My heart felt crushed.

You know that expression that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime?  I met Gina for a reason.  And I think I know what that reason is.  When I think of her, I think of serenity.  I think of peace.  And I smile.

God bless your family, Gina.  You certainly showed your daughters how to live a full life, no matter how short it might be.  And thank you for coming into my life.  It may have been brief, but it sure was a joy to know you.


Leanne said...

PK, I so believe that people come into your life for a reason. Gina was a blessing for the peace she brought to you (and, I'm sure, to so many others who she touched.) Thanks for sharing this story.

Laura said...

Oh Peg.... I am so sorry to hear about Gina. I remember the day you came into the office and shared with me the raisin story and the "raisin connection" that you had with Gina the night before. You are right - Gina came into your life for a reason.

scrapwordsmom said...

That is a great story, Peggy. Thank you for sharing it with us. What a wonderful connection you guys made. I, too believe people come into our lives just when we need them. You were gifts to each other.