During my last Toronto trip, I was able to visit Maricel Quintos, an old friend of mine who has cancer. In the 4 months since I last saw her, traces of her last chemo seemed fading and she had grown some hair. But she was also in pain this time around and her low grade fever did not make matters better. Her condition notwithstanding, I can only say that she is quite a person. She exudes so much positive energy to everyone around her.
<> Below is an entry in my journal I wrote last April when I first saw her. I asked her permission before I put it on this blog. I’d like to share it with you. <>
“My encounter with Maricel Quintos, a 48 year old woman, mother of Michelle Bayle and a friend I met some 29 years ago, has made quite an impression on me. Maricel has been diagnosed with colon cancer which has mestastasized in her liver. She was given 6 to 9 months to live by her doctors in Toronto if her new round of chemo does not work out. Her catscan, after her initial chemo a while back showed that her tumors, instead of shrinking actually doubled in size. Her doctors hope that a new regimen will work out for her. <>
I was able to spend time with her during my recent trip and let me tell you, I am totally stunned and in awe at how peacefully she has accepted her condition. She carries herself with a serenity of one who has come to terms with her mortality. She narrated to me how she had made preparations with the funeral home for her eventual passing. <>
Maricel’s brave acceptance of her fate. coupled with her conscious detachment from the pressing details and lures of life that still beckon the living are truly admirable. In place of what she has given up, there is a joyful clarity and expansiveness, a peacefulness and grace that are visible to all who sit with her. It is a radiance that can pull me out of my daily concerns. She has been blest with the gift of acceptance.
Through her, I seem to experience a glimpse of the Oneness that we all pine for which she seems to be intimate with. In matters of the Spirit, it is obvious that she is healed and at peace! <> Truly, the prospect of life’s loss is powerful enough to make life meaningful! To be ready to let go is to have it both ways–the joy of embracing the eternal while living in this crazy impermanence called life!.” <>
To Maricel, may you hold on to your peace serenity through all this. I’m praying for you and sending good thoughts of healing everyday. To the readers, please do the same.