Calming Presence

On October 12th of 2000 my youngest brother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was only 37 so the news was a terrible shock to him and his family. Within two hours of the diagnosis I was at my brotherŐs bedside. On entering the room I was struck by the expression on David's face. Visible, on what was always a cheerful countenance was an expression of deep foreboding (I have never felt such sorrow for anybody else in my life).

Being an outgoing family, conversation flows easily (too easily some would say) However, not this day. The stilted conversation between David and I was such hard work, I thought it best if I leave and return some other time. I stood to leave; just then a young woman entered the room. Her face radiated kindness and love, immediately she proceeded to talk to my brother and I, and did so for what must have been 30 minutes (I must stress that the conversation included no great profundities, more a very cheerful human discourse)

After this wonderful person had left the room, both David and I were speechless. I eventually broke the silence by asking David if he felt as I did, that we had just been in the presence of a most fabulously loving and saintly person. He whole heartedly agreed.

Once I had collected myself, I left David's room and asked the nurses on the reception desk (about 8ft away) if our visitor was from any of the cancer counseling charities. What visitor!!! Both nurses were absolutely adamant that they had allowed no one access to my brother's room. When I returned to David's room I was amazed at the complete change in his demeanour. He had acquired a courage and calmness that was to stay with him until he died 9 weeks later.

To this day I believe that wonderful person was not of this world.

Frank S.