She walked in slowly seemingly to browse but observing everything around her. Trying to make her feel comfortable I begin talking about the lacy pink nightgown that has caught her eye. Looking around I knew that this was not what brought her in to the health boutique and I begin to tell her about the many different products that we have for women. As I mentioned the prosthesis for breast cancer survivors she looked me in the eyes and said, “yes that’s what I need”. I introduce myself and show her to the private fitting room where she begins to tell me her story; I listen intently.
“My name is Janet. I never thought that it could happen to me. One day I went for a check-up and my doctor found a lump. She sent me for more tests and the next thing I know I am having a double mastectomy.”
With genuine concern in my voice, “I’m so sorry. Can you slip off your blouse and I’ll measure you, please?”
Unbuttoning she continued, “It all happened so fast that I’ve not really had time to think all this through. Maybe that has been a good thing but I’m feeling extremely empty these days.”
“Janet, I can’t imagine what you are going through but it seems like you have done a wonderful job at handling things so far. Here, let me fasten this for you.”
Glancing in the mirror she acknowledges the fit and adds, “Well, I am thankful just to be a live, I really am. But, you see, my husband hasn’t been able to accept my surgery or even look at my scars. I wonder if he’ll ever look at me again.”
Reaching for a tissue to catch the tears now filling up in her eyes I sigh as I search for something of worth to say. Handing it to her she sniffles and continues.
“I begin my chemotherapy next week and within a few weeks I’ll lose my hair as well. I’m sure by then I’ll be glad that he’s n-o- t look-i-n-g!”
Silent tears turning into sobs she buries her face within her hands. I sit down on the chair beside Janet and put my arm around her shoulder. Closing my eyes for a deep breath and to whisper a prayer, I try and console my despondent new friend. The crying becomes deeper and I can’t quite make out the words but it didn’t really matter.
“I am,” sniffle “so sorry”. She inhales deeply trying to gain control but not being able to hold it back she gives in to yet another long whimper. I hand her more tissue and sit in silence as she wipes the tears that have trailed down her face and neck.
“Janet, you have nothing to be sorry for. I don’t know a lot about you but I do know that you are a very special person. You are beautiful and sensitive and I know that you are loved. Your husband may not have the words to express his feelings right now but I know that your breast surgery will not change the way he has always felt.”
Looking up at me with tears still trickling, “thank-you for listening and encouraging me. I really just needed a good cry. I feel much better now. She smiles, we hug and we start sorting through the mess that we have made.
“Here, did you like this one in the black or in the white?” I hold up the bra that is made especially to hold her prosthesis. Pointing to the black with one hand and picking up her ringing cell phone with the other.
“Hello?” Pause, “Oh hey hon!” The smile turns into a serious stare. “What’s wrong? What has happened?”
Again streams of tears begin to flow down her face but this time they
are tears of joy. She drops the phone in her purse, tilts her head to one side and with a huge smile says, “he loves me no matter what. After I had been gone a few hours today Jeff began to miss me and he has been crying for over an hour. He just wanted to tell me how much he loves me and that nothing will ever change how he feels about me. He wants to take me to dinner tonight to celebrate my life, isn’t that just precious?”
As I silently thank God for His divine intervention I answer, “yes, just precious.”
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