It’s impossible to know how someone else feels – even though we lived through a similar experience.
Often in our attempts to comfort friends, we muster our courage and murmur too many words – wanting desperately to comfort. Unfortunately, those murmurings can serve to deepen their heartache. They can re-activate fears or re-affirm ‘aloneness’ in a world too shaken by chaos.
Even when loss experiences parallel – a parent, a child, a spouse – it’s impossible to know how another feels. We can, however, lay claim to our own feelings, expressed simply and quietly. We can watch for openings to support and be available, as and when needed.
What about other losses? How would you respond to a close friend who may have a cancerous tumor growing on her one kidney?
Hold on…there’s more… What if she was the friend who donated one of her kidneys when you needed a transplant?
Victoria C. Slotto, author of “Winter is Past” is, in fact, a survivor of a kidney transplant. Victoria’s best friend truly did donate one of her kidneys for Victoria’s life-saving transplant.
Though a work of fiction, “Winter is Past” reveals the relational ups and downs of two women whose lives are entwined by life-giving kidneys. While we are usually given the “happy ever after” effects of transplant experiences, Victoria takes the reader into another layer; another realm of fear.
Victoria is an RN who has worked in Hospice. Her experience in these fields contributes to healthy and functional responses to the robust roller-coaster ride taken by the characters in this story.
The main character, Claire, is medical doctor who is nicely recovering from a kidney transplant. The donor for the kidney is her best friend – another medical doctor. Suddenly Claire learns her friend’s healthy kidney may be growing a tumor. Fears form as Claire faces the possible loss of a friend, then suffers guilt over having that friend’s healthy kidney and wrestles known realities about medical processes.
The Prologue portrays Dr. Claire’s fears and makes me wonder how much is Victoria’s personal journey:
“Fear has enveloped me like a subtle fragrance…
…the fear I know is subtle and pervasive. It’s more like a slow tug – the loss of control that takes over when you’ve been caught in the arms of a riptide – or like the blindness that surrounds your car when you creep your way through a heavy downpour, alone on a deserted stretch of highway…”
If this were a book review, I’d address Claire’s responses to the challenges that arise. Instead, I applaud Victoria for writing a story that allows her professionalism to shine through. The reactions of her characters demonstrate healthy responses to some of life’s most difficult possibilities.
Throughout this page-turning story, I didn’t find one claim that Claire knows what her friend is feeling.
It’s a refreshing read for mind, body and soul. Thank you, Victoria.