The eye of the soul

    She sat in my recliner with her hands folded over her large protruding abdomen occasionally looking at me as I asked her questions. The rest of her body was emaciated, her face hollowed out by loss of tissue and her eyes sunken into her head. A body emaciated by disease is not a pretty sight but sometimes the eyes tell a different story. Strange how the eyes can reveal the soul and tell stories that may not be obvious when one looks at the body. I have seen cases where the body was dying but the eyes were still full of life; I have seen situations where the body was full of pain but the eyes showed thankfulness for one’s presence; and I have seen strong healthy bodies with the eyes reflecting the helplessness of a little child.

    Mrs Marcus (not her real name) would not let me see her eyes. I needed to see them in order to decide how to treat her – what attitude I should adopt. She was having a series of chemotherapy treatments for the recurrence of intestinal cancer and I was watching her grow increasingly weak with each treatment. Why, I wondered, was it necessary to give these poisons to an elderly person who clearly could not be cured and who I suspected was terminal?

    She had no muscles left and was skin and bone. I wondered whether anyone had asked her if she genuinely wanted to live any longer and go through more treatment which made her feel terribly ill.

    Please speak to me Mrs Marcus and tell me your truth. Don’t keep walking past me and hiding your eyes so that I can’t tell who you are and what you want. I want to know if there is passion left in you for life, if you still want to watch the birds flying past. I want to know if your heart beats faster when you see a beautiful sunset and if you can still dream great dreams.

    The eye of the soul

    Mrs Marcus died a few days later.

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