Sunday, November 25, 2007


Years ago in college, I took an ethics class. We covered all sorts of difficult topics, and tho I recall enjoying the mental exercise, I remember little of it.

One essay stuck with me. I don't recall the author (perhaps a reader will), but the substance of the essay resonated. It described the journey of a boat as a metaphor for our journey through life. If a boat leaves on a long enough journey and encounters enough problems through the way, one could imagine needing to replace every last board, nail, and piece of machinery on it. If that boat returns to it's port of call without any piece of the original boat remaining, can you still call it the same boat?

Since that discussion, I have at some level pictured my inner self as a boat. It's not a fancy one, but wood with graceful lines, and likely evolved from some deep memories of childhood book illustrations of Noah's ark. I see my boat as starting out shiny, oiled, and polished, and by the end of my life to be weathered, splintered, and faltering.

Henry's illness has put a huge gash in my hull. I will contain the damage and continue my journey, but my boat will never be the same again. Somehow I find this comforting. His illness, no matter the outcome, will shape my future sailing.


TBTAM said...

Dr Smak -

I've been away from your blog for a bit, and just learned of your troubles today.

Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.


SOCKS said...

You are an amazing woman, Dr, Mother and daughter.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Smak, your blog brings such emotion-and perspective. Your family is lucky to have you in their boat.

Anonymous said...

When you were a little girl I knew you would be an extraordinary human being!


Femail doc said...

What a beautiful metaphor you've applied to your mind-boggling situation. This is one I won't forget as reading it caused such a gush of emotion, it's fixed forever.

Thanks yet again for sharin.

Karen said...

Hi Dr. Smak,

I just found you through FatDoctor, by clicking on your link randomly. I figured a Dr. Smak might be funny and like smacking up their patients...instead I was happy to find your site because you write very well, but very saddened to hear of your current journey. I am a volunteer at St. Jude (famous pediatric cancer hospital) in Rehab Services, and have been over 3 years. A lot of St. Jude children having caringbridge sites that their parents keep up that with their journals, and are very helpful. You didn't name the type of cancer, but there is at least a small chance I could lead you to some other parent journals with the same or similar diagnoses, if you would be interested. Again, I am so sorry your family has to go through this.

Anonymous said...

was it a louisa may alcott story?