Sunday, July 4, 2010

Freedom Comes in Many Forms

Freedom comes in many forms. To some, it is the freedom from financial burden. For others, it is the freedom to say what’s on one’s mind. There is the freedom to act as one pleases, to worship god as they choose, or not at all if they like. For some precious few, those often referred to as “survivors”, it is the freedom to spend another beautiful evening barbecuing with your spouse and children and grandchildren.

Last July 3rd 2009 was the day my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I’ll never forget the call, but I will say, it was different than what some might expect. “Robert,” she said, “I found out today that I have cancer.” straight and to the point and noticeably free of a common emotion, fear. Because of her voice, I felt a lifting in my heart, a lifting towards what one might call “freedom.” My grandmother had breast cancer, and my mother had lived so many years under the weight of the fear of it, the fear of this unknown force that may someday sweep into her life and take everything she cherishes from her. Yet, here was that day, and my mother, pre-chemo, pre-operation, pre-hair loss and sickness and pain, saw that previously unrealized fear, now in the full light of day, in its presence. She found herself suddenly free. “I am going to beat this, Robert, I have a lot of things left to do.” Again, her voice resonated with the power that only comes from a person who truly sees the smallness of fear.

Last night, on the beautiful evening of July 3rd 2010, a gentle breeze rolling across her beautiful back deck, with her grandchildren playing, my mother sat there looking radiant. The only evidence of the wretched pain that comes with “beating this” was her short white hair, which she no longer colored and which now looked more beautiful than it ever had. Amidst all the other chatter and comings and goings of her children and grandchildren she said with a smile, I’ve been given an “all clean” report. I am free. In that moment, I once again thought of how much of our lives can be wasted fearing what may never happen, or more importantly fearing something that has the potential to raise oneself to a higher awareness. I thought about the beauty of freedom and how very precious it is. What a beautiful way to celebrate July 4, 2010.

* Thank you to all the firefighters, police, military, and on this day doctors and nurses – to all those who dedicate their lives to protecting freedom and providing the opportunity for another day to love.


At July 4, 2010 at 9:49 AM , Blogger Jude Harzer said...

This is an incredibly beautiful post Robert Anthony. Your mother, Valeria, is an inspiration because of her incredible strength, not only in the face of disease, but in all of life. She is a brilliant woman and a lover of life and learning. She has shared that with all of her children which is evident in the way you all, so passionately live your lives and pursue your dreams.I have always loved that your Mom is not defined by her family alone. She is an independent and accomplished individual. You are the added treasure and abundance that reflects her efforts and investment in mindfully raising and loving all 6 of you and your families.Valeria is beautiful.I am glad she chose freedom:)Pure inspiration!

At July 4, 2010 at 10:35 AM , Blogger Julie said...

My experience from reading your words here is beyond words. There is such deep and profound love here. Respect, honoring, reverence for life. I can feel least that's what I sense these feelings are. That's the effect your words, and the transmission within them, as on me.
What a strong and beautiful woman your mother is. I can sense those qualities in you.
Thank you for sharing these intimate moments with all of us. I have a richness in my heart that I'll bring to others today, because of your words.
I hope your day is, and days are, blessed.

At July 4, 2010 at 10:48 AM , Blogger Walt Pascoe said...

Moving and insightful, Robert. I appreciate very much that you shared this. Warm Regards, Walt

At July 4, 2010 at 8:32 PM , Blogger Rudolph said...

When you have a son who has read the bible, cover to cover, three times before reaching the age of 14, you can understand why in the Girandola Family he is called Mr. Intellect. Robert uses his talents in words and in art to let his world know and understand what the "beautiful" is all abut. He always marched to a drummer no one else was able to hear or see. But then we see his thoughts in this wonderful tribute to his mother who has always been his model for courage and his striving to achieve. You have thrilled your Mother, Rob, with your words more than you can know. I thank you for that. My prayers always for your beautiful family. DAD

At July 7, 2010 at 11:05 PM , Blogger Robert Girandola said...

Thank you for all of your heartfelt comments. As all of you must know, there were plenty of moments of fear and pain and I have only touched on the highest of moments. It is an incredible experience to be taught courage and perseverance first hand.


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