A brief tale of a Sikh and a Christian

My Mom (MomJo!), a conservative Christian, contracted double cancer (anal and bladder) and chose to go to Houston for treatment. There, through extended family connections, she was able to hire a caregiver as the treatment (chemo and radiation) took its toll, a woman we’ll call GG, a devout Sikh.

These two women, entrenched in their respective faiths, found common ground in this disease. Not in the disease itself but in the process of enduring current-day treatment.

As MomJo’s physical body stressed and deteriorated quickly under the medical regimen, GG became her everything.

She was her transporter, wheeling MomJo around from appointment to appointment in a wheelchair.

She was her food source, obtaining what food MomJo could stomach.

She was her errand person, acquiring the many small things MomJo requested that would comfort her in her misery.

Most importantly she was MomJo’s reservoir of silent strength.
GG was able to absorb the brutal side effects without complaint
– the incessant diarrhea and vomiting, the clean up. This slight woman helped move MomJo whenever needed. It got to the point MomJo couldn’t move a foot or two without assistance. GG was always there, ever present, ever helpful.

This small, turbaned, elfin woman embodied total care!

One night MomJo’s system collapsed, she was brought to the emergency room, her treatment was ended. I flew out to Houston to help, and met GG.

The quality that stood out was her attentive silence. By this I mean GG was fully present, fully engaged, a caring listener who had no need to insert herself or her opinions. Thus she was able to absorb and let wash through her the anguish Mom was enduring.

A couple of months later MomJo is on the mend, healing well, as if that were her specialty. She and GG just spoke on the phone this past week for half an hour – the conservative Christian and the traditional Sikh – bonded by the fruits of compassion.



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