Friday, April 8, 2011

Another Cancer Patient

I have been to see Sarah B., a friend struggling with lung cancer, no treatment left, it has ravaged her system. She said to me so resolvedly the other day, "Cancer is some disease, isn't it? I answered a knowing yes, torn, that her body is feeling the full effects of it, and mine had a short time with it, and recovering...and I am now processing it in a layer of my being that I did not know existed.
The other day I wrote a free verse poem in response to my visit with her. I had gone to see her to get the chance to connect with her again, and pray over her.
It was an amazing blessed visit. I felt God's presence in it, and was so glad to have been able to schlep down to MGH.

A Free Verse for a Friend
written after visiting Sarah Bollinger in Room 1610 at MGH
Mary-Margaret Almonte

Oh Sarah, sweet Sarah
You are a radiant woman, but oh, sooooo out of your kitchen element, and flour powdered clothing.
You are a mother to one, but beautifully a mom to many.
To know you is to love you.
Exuberant about life, food, oh food-seems to small a word for what you do with it.
Magnificent creations crafted with time, effort, (seemingly effortless) love and expertise.
Sarah is about living. Living it up. Living Large. Living well.
Whipping up amazing ingredients that turn into extraordinary recipes.
Mirepoix and gusto.
Not to mention this gigantic cappuccino machine that sits in a corner of her beloved kitchen.
Upon entrance to her domain whether through her archway in front or the sliding glass back door, a person on any given day could be greeted with “Do you want me to make you a cappuccino- decaf?”
Sarah’s place was a space I sought refuge in during a season my home life was chaotic. It was like visiting a bed and breakfast without the overnight stay.
Decaf Cappuccino and mirepoix turned to a hearty squash soup, and a great story about Juliet Child calmed every frazzled nerve in me one day as I sat with Sarah in her kitchen..
Being served by Sarah was like taking a day at the spa, but she was massaging the inside of your stomach and your heart with good food and cheer that came in the form of food and conversation.
Oh Sarah, sweet Sarah.
Magnificent woman of great stature.
She is the “Joy of Cooking.”
Rapid-fire discussions of ingredients and processes weave anticipation of the first bite of sheer deliciousness.
Entrees, side dishes, side side dishes, and desserts.
Oh Sarah, sweet Sarah.
Her desserts!
What can I say?
No words really adequately describe the dessert experience of Sarah Bollinger.
Generous talent. Creative genius.
Her desserts “Take the Cake.”
Marzipan masterpieces found artistically placed on a cake that speaks the theme sometimes loud or with a whisper.
A glance told her themes.
A stare made you drool.
A bite screamed her talent.
Sarah’s food tells stories.
She is a woman full of stories.
Stories of lives, death, joy, sorrow, success, disappointment, humor and delight.
These weave her tapestry that is uniquely hers.
Now, skating on a frozen river.
Possible-probable death.

Oh Jesus, sweet Jesus please extend her life, Heal her lungs, and touch her whole being, so she can stay with us longer.

Sarah may depart from us one day, maybe too soon, but there is a certainty that she will stay forever, and be
Sarah, sweet Sarah, in all of our hearts.