Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sister In Pain

I thought of my friend Meredith, reading this BBC article on how a certain genetic mutation could cause the sense of pain to be blocked. Physical pain has been a constant in her life for many years now. She has journeyed from one treatment to the next, from one doctor's office to the other hoping for no more than containment. Having exhausted the limits of conventional therapy and wisdom, she has learnt to cope with pain in the most unusual ways. When we first met, I was as amazed by her wisdom as with her tranquility in the face of such terrifying odds. All my troubles seemed trivial in comparison though she never once trivialized mine over hers - she gave me infinite hope just by being.

Two years ago, she lost her hearing completely. That New Year when we spoke, we knew it would be our last phone conversation. Her special hearing aid made it very hard for her to be on the phone - time was when we had chatted all day on weekends. That would remain a fond memory of a time that would never come back. I knew she had this rare disease that besides causing her immense pain would make her body to atrophy a little at a time.

I knew would lose my friend to her illness a little bit at a time, until she was all gone. Yet, in that she would be physically alive with her mind active and bright as always, it would be hard to accept her as gone from my life. In some ways it is probably easier to lose a loved one to death. With Meredith, I would have to fight the urge to call her number and to send her an e-mail - its takes a huge physical effort for her to write.

As another year comes to an end, I pray that we remain connected in our hearts forever, as sisters in spirit if not by birth and that some day they find a way to block out her pain.

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