Have you ever wondered, if you died next week, who would show up at your funeral; what would they say about you? A year and a half ago, we inadvertently got our first small taste of that. Alarmed at the conventional medicine choices offered for treatment of John’s advanced prostate cancer, we found options that, not covered by health insurance, were out of reach financially for us. So we asked for help. As our first group of angels flew in, John learned how many friends and family from all over the world loved him, appreciated and valued his work and wanted him to stick around! Some shared this with poetic and glowing words. Others, like an old high school friend, told him “he better get well and fast, otherwise he was gonna have to give him a good ass whoopin”.
All that love and well wishing came with donations towards the non-conventional treatments that John was using to either “kill the cancer” or support his own immune system. And one of the more amazing aspects of the responses was that we were also thanked for giving them a chance to help!
The prostate cancer continued to spread and the quality of John’s life was being impacted; pain, weight loss, and needing lots more sleep. Remembering an offer made to me by an almost stranger, “if you ever do want to use conventional medicine, I can connect you with a John’s Hopkin’s doctor”, I crafted a quick email saying “yes, please do”. Within minutes I had a response back from him and the friend he had reached out to. Minutes later, a response from the doctor himself. Looking back at that day, I’m pretty sure I felt the brush of wings on my fingers as I typed.
Then a spontaneous session with a local Anthroposophical doctor who recommended a colleague in Baltimore and now the angels were working overtime. We had back to back appointments with each of these two top Doc’s in their fields. I mean, really, how else can you even begin to explain that happening?
Once again confronted with what seemed to us barbaric options that US conventional medicine had to offer prostate cancer, we asked the Anthroposophical doctor,”what would you do if you were in John’s shoes?” “I’d go to the Paracelsus clinic in the Black Forest in Germany” (Hopefully you are now curious enough about Anthroposophical medicine that you’ll do your own research, that’s not what this post is about- but do check it out!)
Flying to Germany a few days ago, we truly felt that we were flying on the wings of angels. Once again people offered love and support and helped to make it happen for John, who at this moment is at the Paracelsus Clinic, held in the wisdom and warmth of Anthroposophical medicine. Here’s a taste of what this means; “We work to attack the cancer, yes. We also work to support the bodies own immune system. And maybe most importantly, to create space for you to continue to develop as a human being. What wants to grow in place of the cancer?” We were both moved to tears.
We are all more than our physical material bodies. What happens when we truly embrace what it means to be human? Maybe this is when the angels can do their work and when the love and connection between us as humans can grow such that we are pleased and grateful to be there for each other.
If you don’t think you’d like what people would say about you after you’ve died, maybe think about making changes in your life such that you would! After all, isn’t a life worth living one that would be grieved for?
Cat & John Cunningham: A very young old couple whose passion is the human connection, listening deeply enough to another to “become other”; the first step towards compassion. Cat Cunninghame is studying to become an End of Life Doula with the Conscious Dying Institute.