They say that the eyes are the windows to a person’s soul. This weekend I was privileged to witness this firsthand, and I learned a few things along the way.
My friend Linda and I traveled to Cincinnati to visit her niece, Sherry. While Linda is Sherry’s aunt, they are close in age and have been very close throughout their lives. Sherry was diagnosed with two malignant brain tumors in February and recently had been hospitalized. For a while, she could no longer speak or walk, but lately has been regaining these skills.
I have met Sherry on several occasions, once traveling with Linda, Sherry and “Tot” – Sherry’s mother and Linda’s sister – to Vegas to see Celine Dion. While I don’t know her well, I do know her laugh, her gentle way of speaking and her calm, easy manner.
Having spent several hours over two days in a hospital room with Sherry has taught me that love can be expressed without words and without actions. There were quite a few visitors in Sherry’s room; many were her daughter’s friends who had come from several states to visit their “other Mom.” There was no “doom and gloom” in that room. There was, however, plenty of love and laughter. I wish all of you could have witnessed the love coming from Sherry to Linda … through her eyes. Mostly, Sherry could say one or two words, or nod yes or no. Often times, she would begin with one or two words, unable to get the rest of the words out. Staring into each other’s eyes – one trying so hard to communicate – the other trying so hard to understand – until they would just dissolve into giggles, just like when they were little girls.
But Sherry did manage to tell Linda, in one long sentence and all at one time, these words … “I love you with all of my heart.” As the “bystander” or “on-looker,” I can tell you that this was the “tissue moment.”
By watching Sherry, I learned the value of determination.
By watching Sherry, I learned that old wounds can heal in an instant when there’s love.
By watching Sherry, I learned that humor can get you through the darkest situations.
By watching Sherry, I learned that there is a way to handle yourself with dignity and grace in a difficult situation.
By watching Sherry, I learned that we each should tell the people we love what they mean to us … now.