How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
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Learning from Margie
As a child I generally got on ok with my big sister. Not much older than me, we played a bit and it was handy in school having someone higher up to turn to when things got tough. In her teens she went out with some really cool guys who I enjoyed hanging around with, though whilst they didn't seem to mind, Margie wasn't too keen on the intrusion.
As we grew up, we drifted apart. She got married and moved away and I went to university in the opposite direction. Later, when I got married and she got divorced, we became friends again. Proper, adult friends now. She was always thoughtful, kind and a great conversationalist.
And then she got cancer. Despite operations and every drug under the sun, it kept coming back and eventually took her. It was several years ago now, but I still remember her with great clarity and love.
What struck me about Margie and the cancer was that she never complained or moaned about it. It was a problem to be managed, even until death, but not one to place as burden upon others. What Margie did well was to help others come to terms with it. Whilst she did not go on about her cancer, she also did not shy away from the topic. She once told me, for example, that she was not afraid of being dead, but was not looking forward to dying. Nor did she obsess about it and she was always more interested in what you were doing.
She appreciated every moment and every day, and was always cheerful and positive. Nobody before or since has taught me so much about living.
And now I think about her with happiness and gratitude. Though her life was cut short, it was not a tragedy and she learned and gave more than most ever do. She had many friends and her funeral overflowed. And yet for such an event I saw many smiles and heard tales of how she had enriched many more lives. There was never a better elegy.
Coda: Here's a small story I wrote, based on Margie's courage.
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