I waded slowly through the shallows until I stood hip deep in Walden, feeling the water surround my neoprene’d legs but hardly penetrating to tickle my skin. I let my fingers brush the surface, creating tiny ripples, smile rings around my thighs. My hands found their way to my chest, joined together in front of my heart where I paused to take two, maybe three long deep breaths. I asked that I might be kept safe during my passage across the pond. Then I thought,
Why am I asking to be kept safe when in a few days time, my daughter is being admitted to hospital to start conditioning, to have her immune system ablated before her bone marrow transplant?
Surely it is she who needs to be kept safe?
The water was as still as the air becoming morning, and I swam on it until I reached the threshold of the wind. It was then, the force of Walden under me, that I suddenly felt as if I was climbing over the curve of the world. And as fast as I was swimming, balanced, poised, I was being unbalanced, my legs falling under me, under the sway of water I was moving. Legs, torso, falling into her. Sinking.
Suddenly I pictured Jesi as she sat on the bench in the doctor’s examination room the day before. Glowing with vitality and sparked with the life of the sun radiating through the room. She held in her lap the consent for her bone marrow transplant. Pushing forward into this challenging treatment, undaunted. My breathing quickened, my stroke strengthened. I was moving forward, knowing there was no stopping, no turning back. Swimming toward the far shore. The beach behind me, the journey once begun, calling me to completion. Jesi’s strength and determination leading me on.
I would remember that moment, remember her unfailing spirit when I was in the pond, in the hospital room which would capture her summer, watching her in the small bleak room where the radiation therapy would hurt and also heal.
If Jesi can laugh with her eyes, smile through the discomforts of her healing, then I can push on over the summit of the pond, stroke by stroke, untiring.