There is a saying ‘all good things must come to an end’, and unfortunately this is an end and a goodbye. This is the last column from our beloved Gereth Edwards.
Looking back on the 20 years of being involved with Bosom Buddies, I believe its greatest achievement is to be a bridge between people and transcend age, social class and race. That is the special ability of women.
Bonding to support each person whose life was tainted by those multiplying marauders that is cancer, created a platform to share the things doctors didn’t know, or were not focused on. Over time institutional memory developed, now there is a legacy which each newly diagnosed person can access.
Breast Health Foundation
From the beginning, the aim of Breast Health Foundation was to educate, support and share information. A job which will never stop.
The time I have spent with Bosom Buddies has been both a joy and privilege. From the first meeting which was conceived as coffee klatch, to the organisation it has grown to become, nay flourished.
In this time, I have made friends with many of you. I have said goodbye to some and have shared memories.
What can I say as a goodbye?
Well, if you’re reading this, you are alive. Catch each sunbeam, smell every flower with an intensity you didn’t know you had. Life is fleeting at best.
Remember the promises you made when you for the first time heard of the wily monster which is cancer. Do them. Fight cancer, or choose to accept it as inevitable.
Travel, knit or sit – you are the master of your ship, maybe not the length of the trip though. You are the cruise director. Sit on the deck with the wind ruffling your hair. If you so feel like it, drop activities and friends which add no value to your life; focus on those that do.
Love with abandon. Tell people how much they mean to you. This is the time to do it. And, if you survive the disease long enough that something else takes you, treat it as a victory. If not, take this as a victory in any case. You live, you make a difference, and a monument crafted to you made with love cannot rust or decay.
Do it now
Etienne de Grellet cautioned us when he said, “I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
What the route will be, who knows? More importantly, enjoy each step. Take this to heart. Make it your motto. Make the treatment a shield, your own crest emboldened to face the foe of the vile cells that try to destroy you. It will give you courage and the people around you.
Whether a deity, or processes in yourself, we know faith is one of the things that can strengthen any treatment regime. Be kind to yourself. Resolve any conflict, whether by confronting them, or simply walking away. This will make space for the battle ahead. Like a game of tug of war, if you don’t hold a grudge, you can be let go of in an instant.
Time to say goodbye
My role in the relay race is done, and it is time to pass the baton to those more vigorous and those better in step with newer ideas. The evolution in the management of cancer changes and thus the needs of the organisation.
It has become customary to use a Nessum Dorma or Lakmé de DelibesTime arias to denote the end of a concert. Following this tradition, my swansong for this column is Con Te Partirò, which translates to ‘time to say goodbye’.
MEET OUR EXPERT – Rev. Doctor Gereth Edwards
Rev. Doctor Gereth Edwards was a practicing plastic surgeon, co-founder of the Netcare Milpark Hospital – Breast Care Centre of Excellence and the Breast Health Foundation. He then refocused his life and qualified as a minister.
He writes from both a scientific and humanities view.