I’ve decided I don’t do heroines well. If I want them spunky, they come off sassy. If I want them strong, they come off bitchy. If I want them compassionate, they come off simpery. So, instead of talking about fictional heroines which have been covered pretty well by my blogmates, I’m going to talk about true-life heroines.
Yesterday I accompanied my friend Derrick to his third day of chemo at the oncology clinic. I found heroines galore.
From the nurses who administer the little bags of toxin with smiles and encouragement. They seem to make an effort to learn the patient’s names from the get-go and greet them as they walk in. They explain with patience every little step they’re taking if the patient or his friend are new to the game and answer questions willingly. Their mission is to make the patient as comfortable and the experience as pleasant as possible. True heroines.
To the patients themselves: the waif wrapped in the blue blanket, her bald head covered in a knit hat, who lies still as the drugs drip. She lies silently, occasionally checking her phone and texting, but otherwise alone.
The grandmother who watches her rambunctious grandson bounce on a stool nearby.
The woman with a buzz cut and her sister who also has a shaved head accompanying her. Two cancer patients or sisterly sacrifice? If it were my sister, would I be brave enough to shave off my one glory? I hope so.
These are true heroines with true stories. I can’t touch them with my fictional prose.
And my friend Derrick? He’s a hero. At 28, he’s fighting the battle of his life with bravery and optimism. Even when given news that could knock the average person to his knees, Derrick rises above and still manages to laugh with me, at me, I don’t care. He’s still laughing and living. When I grow up I want to be just like any one of them.