Thursday, February 18

Chime the bells

Today's post is dedicated to a simple and heartfelt ceremony to celebrate Barry Fraser's last chemotherapy session.

A few days ago, through willow's Life at Willow Manor, I found out about Barry and learned of a ritual followed by cancer patients at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Canada. Apparently, there is a bell at the end of the hall above the exit to the chemo unit, and, as Barry explains on his blog, "patients completing their last treatment of chemotherapy, ring the bell as they leave. And whenever it rings the nurses and volunteers and other chemo patients pause for a moment and applaud. When I finish my last injection of chemo, on Thursday February 18th at about 2pm Eastern Standard Time, I'm also ringing that damn bell! As loud and as long as I can!"

A great many people from all over the world have decided to join in the clanging and ringing, the chiming and dinging and donging at that time (8:00 pm for me here in Spain) to celebrate this milestone in Barry's battle against cancer. My bell offering is this lovely image of bluebells:

Photo: Morning Bells — © Thomas Ljungberg, from Onexposure. Click to enlarge.

Barry, you have said you are overwhelmed by the show of support. I am sure you are wondering how to give voice to your appreciation, but I want to ask you, at least for one instant, not to give or feel the need to give thanks for anything, but to allow me and many others to express our gratitude for what you have done and are doing.

So thank you for your courage and example. Thank you for sharing your fears and your determination with us, thank you for knowing who your friends are, even the so many of us who have not met you. Thank you for knowing to call out for a helping hand when needed, thank you for knowing how to summon up a friendly choir of belled voices and accept a gentle arm around the shoulder. Thank you for choosing not to walk down that corridor and out that door today alone, but allowing all of us in this blogging community to walk that walk with you and ring that bell by your side.

In short, thank you for reminding and showing us all just how meaningful, purposeful and powerful blogging can be. There is nothing virtual or cyber about these sentiments and wishes. Our gratitude and solidarity are very real. We ring our bells for you and for all of us — cancer and the fight to stave off its ravages are something present in the lives of everyone. No one is untouched.

I urge everyone to visit Barry at An Explorer's View of Life and see the bells that other Theme Thursday participants are striking today.

And to actually join Barry in the ringing, and help him lay some righteous joyous doo-wop on that bell, I leave you with the R&B group the Willows singing Church Bells May Ring ...


  1. Well said, Lorenzo. Well said, indeed.


  2. It's been a very meaningful experience to rally around Barry today. Thanks, LLL, for your part in encouraging us.

    Wicked Willows music!!

  3. How incredibly beautiful that was.

  4. A powerful post, the ringing of bells at the end of chemo treatment. My gram went through chemo last year and could only stand one single treatment. She came home that day and told us she'd rather die. And several months later...she did.

    PS: I'm stopping here by way of Maggie (Flux capacitor). But I'm also a huge fan of Willow. As a fellow poetry/art lover, I'm enjoying your blog very much.

  5. I'm new to your blog. Lorenzo. I have ony just joined the bell ringers for Barry and I'm taken by your heartfelt thanks here to Barry for allowing us all to join in giving thanks.

    It's about a shared joy in life, I suspect, that we can all share in someone's efforts to fight against death. Thanks.

  6. Ringing the Bell for Barry today:
    Clang, Clang!

    --Terrace Crawford

  7. poignant and powerful post...thanks for sending subby that email which gave the heads up to theme thursday community.

    i wonder if the astronauts heard the bells today!!

    hugs and hearts....thank you - though your heartfelt words did stimulate some tears .... but good tears!!!

  8. Alright, I won't thank you.

    But I am overwhelmed by the support and very moved by your words.

  9. Nicely said. And brilliant picture.

  10. For me there was something special about the way so many people rallied to ring bells. It helps bring home just how important blogging can be in creating and maintaining nurturing communities of like-minded and like-spirited people.

    It's especially nice to see Barry visit here and comment.


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