My grandmother was a wondrous woman. She lived through two World Wars, bore 15 children, lost her husband and plottered through life without complaining: “niet kniezen, niet zeuren”, which is Dutch for “no moping, no moaning”.
I am looking at a picture of her standing in my parents’ garden behind a wooden wheelbarrow serving as a flower pot, courtesy of my mother’s creative gardening.
She is holding the stems of two tall sunflowers, peekabooing through them with a cheeky smile.
That picture has recently become a frequent companion on my daily trips to radiation therapy sessions.
My grandmother was also a healer, you see.
She used to be called by family and strangers alike to “put out the fire”. My grandma had many gifts and healing burns was one of them even if nobody could really grasp or explain it.
So when I had to get my beautiful breast bombarded with burning x-rays, I called Oma for help.
I meditated on the process, took her photo with me to each session and asked her to protect me and my skin during the radiation.
I visualised her icing my breast like a cupcake with a creamy, yummy, tasty and protective decoration each time the machine zoomed in and out.
Her gnarly hands cupped over me. I could almost hear her murmur “It’s ok. Shhh. It’s ok” and together we turned radiation into radiance.