I think I have a bit of a hero complex. I want to dash in and rescue people. At the moment I want nothing more than to rescue my sister, Andrea, from cancer. I wonder does this savior urge stem from past lives? From what I can tell I was a bit of a swashbuckler in at least three lives; sword outstretched, gun in hand or standing proudly on the prow of my own ship. The very idea might seem laughable now as I am all of 115lbs of small boned woman (well except the knobby knees – thanks Dad!). I may not have the physique in this current life, but the mind set is still there. Or at least it was until recently.
I’ve begun to rethink my idea of a hero these last few years. Instead of the brave, swashbuckler, all action and impulse of yore. I think a true hero is really someone who can sit quietly by and assist. It requires fortitude and compassion. The heros around Laura when she was dying, were the people who came unquestioningly and helped. The ones who did simple, important tasks – like cooking and staying over night in her final hours. It is something I shall never forgot.
And there is something else. I think a real hero is someone who can be honest and admit their own failures and limitations. Our old image of the hero is someone who is invincible, who doesn’t make mistakes or have chinks in their knowledge. But honesty requires enormous courage, more courage than getting out your sword. Last week one of my sister’s cancer specialists, a man at the top of his profession, admitted that he didn’t know the answer to one of her concerns. He had never seen someone with her particular combination of issues before. Instead of playing the all knowing doctor – leading with his ego, he sought outside help from colleagues and together we’re hoping their collective knowledge will create an even better outcome for my sister.