Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Road Not Taken

 The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

My sister is a strong woman and when she makes up her mind to travel a certain path, she doesn't turn back.  In October, she received a devastating diagnosis of stage four esophageal cancer.  Working as a cytologist she knew that there were limited treatment options.  None of them with the hope of a cure.  Radical surgery and great discomfort would accompany the extension of her life by only a little.  So she chose a different path.  No surgery, no chemo, no radiation.  With grace and dignity she has embarked calmly on a journey - one on which we can only accompany her for while.  She has been making the most of the little time she has left in this life by traveling, by spending time with her friends and family, and by putting all of her affairs in order, including expeditions to the grocery store to help reacquaint her husband with provisioning skills. 

She has told everyone in her life how special they are to her.  She has given away many of her things, and she has daily become more beautiful as external things are stripped away and the essence of her spirit becomes more evident.

Together and individually as a family we are all struggling to match her courage in the face of our sadness.  She will be leaving us with a legacy of incredible love.

Me on the left, Rosalind on the right.
I don't remember a time before her nor can imagine a time without her.  I find myself unable to say "goodbye", but perhaps I might be able to say, "Save a pretty spot for me, I will be along before too long."  

I wonder which path you might choose?  Have you made end of life decisions?  And are you living your todays as if each day were precious?

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