Robin Schoenthaler is a radiation oncologist at a hospital outside Boston. We met in the way friends often do nowadays, online, through a women's writers group. She's a wise woman and a very good writer. This piece, "O Night Divine on the Cancer Unit," from Upstate Medical University's literary journal, The Healing Muse, which drifted by in my Facebook feed, caused me to stop, click, and read. Here's one lovely paragraph. If you are dealing with cancer either as a patient, relative, or friend, it must be read. And if you say today, not me, well, then bookmark it because you will be that person. We all are/will be.
The Greeks have a word for moments like this—kairos—a time in between, a sacred time, a moment shared with the divine. Walking into a hospital room late at night I feel as though I am walking into a temple, a sanctuary, a secret tunnel underneath the trenches. Voices are muted; the patient is spent. Family may be drawn and pale, worn down to the last nerve. Our encounter is one of many stops in a long battle that began months or years before and their faces show it.