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Being Human
by Patricia Woods on 

I wrote a few posts about decision making last month and grappled with my own decision-making this month trying to choose the direction of this newsletter.

I lost a good friend in June. Cindy had been diagnosed with cancer two years ago and we were lucky to spend a lot of time together during this period. We usually lived countries apart, but she and her husband had unexpectedly moved a few hours from me after her diagnosis to begin her treatment and be close to her family.

Cindy had a lot of tough decisions to make over those two years. She researched treatment with her family, chose her doctors, hospital, and made changes during the course of her treatment.

Her decisions dramatically changed her life. She left her job, community, home, and friends. All that we are so attached to and that encompass our life, our identity.

I had moved to Pennsylvania that same week to begin a new chapter of my life but my decision had been mulled over, researched and planned over the course of a year.

In the beginning, Cindy relied on her family and doctors to guide her medical decisions. As time went on I saw her become stronger in all areas of her life and her decisions reflected her priorities. She was clear about her priorities, had the emotional strength to stand by her decisions, and moved through each one with confidence. She captured Nelson Mandela’s quote I had posted that had over 500 views, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears”.

I learned to develop the emotional strength that was needed to be present with her. I allowed myself to feel my own fear and terror and slowly they no longer paralyzed me but opened the door to greater connection.

Over those two years, it felt like much of life was peeled away and I was experiencing the true essence of life. Just being present, being here, now. Walking through life with Cindy.

I learned all over again how amazing friendship could be when you’re really there. She was able to cut to the chase. We appreciated each other and let it show. We felt fear and let it show but it didn’t consume our relationship.

As a counselor, I often work with clients as they unpack their “baggage” loaded with the stuff of life, the wrongs, losses, hurts, injustices.  I saw my friend make daily choices of how she wanted to live. She chose to unpack pretty completely, letting go of old hurts to live free.

I want to continue to be influenced by our time together. I want to try and live free each day. To remember what really matters, to allow appreciation to show in my eyes when I greet my loved ones, to be as open, present and compassionate as I can as I listen to my client’s words.

To remember that it doesn’t necessarily matter who you were before, what you did, what kind of life you had, but who you are today.

Live and create your best life TODAY.

Breathe and live each moment, NOW.

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