My stay in England is at an end, but I’ll always remember the stories. One in particular has stayed with me.
The last two nights in the land of tea and crumpets were spent at a lovely little hotel just a few minutes away from Gatwick International Airport. From my hotel it was a ten minute walk into the quaint town of Horley where one night I enjoyed a meal, shopped at the local Boots pharmacy, then stopped in at a pub where I purchased an excellent cider.
The weather that evening was lovely, so I took the cider outside and sat by myself at a picnic table, enjoying the music and watching people. One picnic table was filled with a fun loving group. They waved me over and I thought, “why not?”
When I introduced myself, they knew instantly I was an American and asked about a jillion questions which I answered as well as I could. They were still confused as to how Donald Trump was ever elected president and I apologized on behalf of our country.
This group was full of good cheer, but I couldn’t help but think there was something else going on.
“So, what are y’all celebrating,” I asked.
The beautiful woman seated across from me didn’t mince words. “Cancer,” she said, brushing a strand of blond hair from her face.
“Oh?” I asked.
“Yeah. I’ve got it. Incurable.” She shrugged.
Her friends sobered.
“We just found out today,” the woman next to me said.
“I’m so sorry,” I said.
The pretty woman smiled. “Don’t be. I’m not going to be sorry for meself. I’ve signed up for a trial. Help others, you know.”
We all drank a toast to her. She laughed and said something bawdy and everyone laughed with her. And I said a prayer for her. That she’d be comfortable when the time came.
I walked away that evening feeling the weight of her disease and the wonder of her acceptance. Truly beautiful.