You may or may not know that I have had cancer 6 times now and that I live in Northern Ireland – land of Protestants and Catholics, that are known to sometimes not agree.
Way back in 2002 when I was first diagnosed with cancer, the regime consisted of chemotherapy on a Thursday, then out for a week, then, like clockwork, I would take a temperature the following Wednesday or Thursday, which meant usually 5-7 days in hospital hooked up to a drip to try and get control of the infection that was causing the temperature. Out for a week – and yes, I was very weak – and then it all started again.
Because of the severity of the cancer and the risk of infection, I was always treated royally by the nurses/doctors and always had my own room. Not because I was private but because I had a bad immune system from the chemotherapy.
One night, late on, after visiting was over, an elderly lady accidentally came into my room. We started talking and it turned out that her brother was in with the same thing. (Lymphoma) We must have talked for about an hour and then she left. A couple of minutes later the door opened and she said, “I forgot to say, I’ll light a candle for you.” Then she closed the door.
I was born a protestant, although I must point out, not a practising one, and in no way interested in the Northern Ireland pastime. In my mind, we’re all equal and it doesn’t matter what your beliefs. But of course, I knew what lighting a candle meant. If she had given me a million pounds, it couldn’t have put a bigger smile on my face. Someone who didn’t know me was willing to light a little candle and say a prayer. Wow.
Some days ago, on Twitter, my friend Taylor Fulks @TaylorTfulks tweeted me exactly the same thing. I replied back that she didn’t know just how much it meant, so, this little blog entry is for you Taylor.
When you’re sick and someone says, “I’ll light a candle for you.” It really means the world.