I share with each of you a very personal story about my dear “hippie sister,” Helena. It is shared with permission and deep respect for her courageous journey! She is a true warrior (of love).
Life Measured in Moments
A Legacy of Love – Helena’s Story
I felt a stirring of emotion as my thoughts went to Helena, a student of mine who is in stage four cancer. Because I am a firm believer in following through on Universal nudges, I sent a text of inquiry. A simple, “How are you doing? May I come visit you?” Her raw and truthful response flashed onto my cellphone screen,
“Love is what we need. My husband is sad, my kids, too. And like the song, I need a friend. Thank you.”
In the pit of my stomach were the butterflies that come in those character defining moments. Having a desk piled high with things to do and follow-up requiring my attention, I asked myself, what is more important? Tackling the “to do” list or clearing the calendar to hold a friend’s hand? Turning to Kim, we locked tear-filled eyes and nodded in agreement that making the three-and-a-half-hour drive to Delray Beach is more important.
The next morning, I buckled up, pushed the OnStar button, and drove, finding myself reflecting on special moments spent with Helena during the training just four short years ago. I remembered that she could barely feel her feet due to the medications ingested yet, she enthusiastically lead a Zumba class. How when she went for one of her chemotherapy treatments, there was a child without the proper funds to get theirs so she forewent hers to allow the child theirs.
Upon arrival, after receiving a warm hug and enormous smile, my senses are filled with the beauty that surrounded her. There was ambient music, a white candle lit for the souls that have gone before her, the walls covered with art, mostly painted by Helena herself. Ocean scenes as they are her favorite. And the smell of homemade Columbian chicken soup!
Helena in a weakened state, invites me to sit down to enjoy a bowl of soup. She tells me that the soup is simple, and that she hopes I will like it. Gingerly carrying the bowl to the table, I notice that each piece of chicken is cut into thoughtful little bits, all the same exact measure. The boiled potatoes, sliced immaculately, and laid in the bottom of the bowl, in what one might say with the hands of a master. I’m going to say with the hands of pure love.
We sat at that table together while I consumed soup and stories. It began with her talking in a soft whisper, as her husband was within earshot. She leaned in and began telling me how heart-wrenching it is to listen to her husband’s weeping in a neighboring room when he thinks she is sleeping. What a horrific experience it was to lose 50 units of blood in a surgery to save her life. How intense the leg and back pain are most likely from the tumor pressing onto a nerve. And that no pain medicine works for her because her body violently reacts, causing her to vomit all through the night, leaving her 95 pound body, tired and frail.
Once the sadness was spoken she turned her attention to recounting the beautiful stories of her twenty years spent in Columbia working to save the children. Passionately describing her days finding families for the children needing to be adopted. Story after story, word after word, my respect for her courage, commitment, faith, and fortitude, grew! As I began to wrap up the visit, we hugged and looked deeply into each others eyes. Sharing that if that day was our last day, we’d each remember the other and that I’d look to the sky for the brightest star, “The hippy sister star.”
Sliding back into the seat of my car, no music played, only the sound of the wheels on pavement. The two hours spent with Helena going through my mind. The visit was intended to provide comfort. It resulted in being incredibly instructive. In a world filled with comparison and competition, I was taught a lesson through her actions.
Life is measured in moments. Those moments determine our legacy. Helena’s legacy is love. ❤︎
A GoFundMe page was created for Helena by Starr Goddess to assist with her family with medical expenses: Helena
Note: Since the publication of this story, Helena’s spirit left her body to fly free and sparkle as one of the absolutely most brilliant stars.