The Medicine and Magic of Objects

 My friend placed the music box on a blanket in the center of the room, displaying it with reverence for all to see. Running the palm of her hand across its shiny surface, she told the story of how it came to her. According to a cousin, her grandmother gave it to her, a favorite grandchild, in her will.  She starts the music and it’s song transports us all to a time before any of us were born.

I noticed the familiar statue on the bookcase. Memories of the occasion when our friend Jyoti first brought it to this space, fill the room. An insipid disease has stolen her memories from her, but we stand together, remembering on her behalf. I see again her sly smile as she told us what she said to the shopkeeper where she first saw it, “I must have this warrior goddess for my women’s group. I hope it isn’t too expensive, but even if I have to refinance my car or house, this archetypal image of the courageous invincible woman must be there.”

One summer, when my daughter was being treated for breast cancer at a major medical center, she presented me with a special, now most treasured gift for my birthday. Knowing that butterflies were special to me,  she purchased a butterfly pin at the hospital gift shop. The piece had been produced by an artist from the drawing of a child being treated for cancer, a portion of the proceeds going to fund the hospital’s family support program.  Nine years later, as I wear the butterfly on a chain around my neck, I’m reminded that to secure the pin, she had walked nearly a mile through the corridors of the medical center while pushing the infusion therapy pole to which she was attached.

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