First thing yesterday morning I had a call from Gabriola Island from my friend Sheila. The conversation went something like this.
“Trudy, it is after 9:00 and you don’t have your blog posted this morning.”
“Have you forgotten that I have cancer?” I casually mention.
“Never mind that,” she says in her very English accent.
And then we laughed.
Sheila is another reason why I post this blog. Smart, funny, generous, creative and bossy she has kept me in line for years now. She is the kind of person who if she says she will do it, consider it done. She is also the kind of person who will go many extra miles for her friends and I count myself lucky to be one of her many friends.
Since my surgery, Sheila began folding paper cranes for me. The first I knew about it was when she and her husband Jim arrived for a week-end, and presented me with an amazing gift. When I opened the box there were 3 strings of carefully folded paper cranes totalling 250. Some were tiny and some were larger. All were beautiful. They were strung and ready to be hung from a circle, and each string was weighted with a variety of tiny little amulets: the shape of a cat for Sheila’s feline friend Camilla; (did I mention that I am Camilla’s god-mother?) a tiny mouse for the year of the rat and a simple weighted word friend.
There was a second box that contained a wooden eagle, hand-carved by her multi-talented husband Jim, who incidentally also prepared a delicious feast for the family dinner, later that day. The eagle would hold the ring in its beak and the gift would continue until I had one thousand (1000) cranes. Can you imagine!
“By the time the thousandth crane arrives, you will be healed,” Sheila confidently announced. I believed her then and I believe her now.
She explained that the cranes would arrive by mail and by personal delivery as relatives and friends arrived from the coast to visit. In just this past ten days, more cranes arrived, carried by my Mother, and a few days later by our friend Deb. Each string of folded paper cranes is beautiful and reminds me that my healing journey is well under way and I am not alone.
In Japan there is a healing tradition of women folding 1000 cranes. Sheila adapted that tradition so that the cranes would arrive a string at a time, each one representing progress towards recovery. She also changed the gender requirements so Jim has also been folding cranes, as have a little group of Sheila’s friends on the Gabriola commuter ferry. On several mornings as the 6:45 AM ferry leaves the dock, there is about 20 minutes of paper crane folding going on, until the ferry reaches the other side. I am the lucky recipient.