Ringing of the Bell

The bell, silently waiting to be rung.
The bell, silently waiting to be rung.

The symbolism of the ringing of bells has been widely recognized throughout the ages and spans the globe. They have been used to awaken us, mark the beginning and ending of religious services, summon lawmakers to legislative sessions, used in celebrations, warn of dangers…the list goes on and on.  In this context, they serve as a rite of passage, for those who walk through these doors, heavy-hearted and fearful, and leave with hope in their hearts, grateful for the compassionate care given to them by the medical staff and the companionship of others whom they have met on this path.

Yesterday was Terry’s final radiation treatment and as I stood waiting for him to emerge from the patient waiting area, a sadness enveloped me, an odd feeling I thought, on a day meant for celebration.  I shared this with one of his technicians and Nicole, the patient advocate, who both explained how completely normal this was (me, completely normal?!).  Something that had become a daily routine, something that could be done to eradicate this insidious disease, had abruptly come to an end.  It made perfect sense to be having this experience.  What did not make sense to Terry, and what he was totally unprepared for, was the sudden emotion that washed over him.  Although greatly relieved that this chapter was coming to a close, he was also walking away from part of his family, a very kind, compassionate, supportive family at that.

We will forever carry in our hearts all who wrapped us in their loving care and are most grateful for the remarkable medical staff at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

yesterday’s struggles

are today’s celebrations

wrapped in gratitude

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