Storying Sheffield


By Rachel Burton. You can read an interview with Rachel here.

I arrived at the intersection of terror and the unknown on a very ordinary day.

The news descended like a gently drifting snowflake. It fell into our awareness and our hearts froze in place.

In that moment of stasis when time stopped blinking, a surge of fear engulfed our senses. The little room imploded with the deafening sound of stillness.

When time snapped back her militant watch, we sat in the shockwave of cancer.

In the days to come my army was assembled. The endless rounds of testing marched through our daily life.

The battle between sanity and panic is waged in the trenches of waiting rooms. The wounded sit wrapped in flimsy cotton gowns where everything feels exposed.

The hands of strangers drifted over me, some gentle and kind, some brusque and robotic. Needles upon needles that stabbed at my body and pierced my soul.

For months the battle raged. We learned to live in the unknown, sometimes with arms pinwheeling at the edge of a mental cliff.

But in between the monsters of our minds, the gifts of home-baked lemon loaf and casseroles arrived, so brimming with love they flooded our fears.

A tiny parade of packages landed at our door, each loaded with the type of kindness that spills tears from the banks of hope.

Words so vulnerable and love so deep were expressed during those days and the enormity of gratitude played like a thousand strings in our own celestial orchestra.

Love and kindness poured into our shattered world. We felt the outstretched arms of gentle compassion and they glued us back together.

We learned to breathe. To take in the wisdom of the cosmos in the place we had no control. At the intersection of terror and the unknown I heard the sky whispering “It’s okay”.
And it was.