BY VICKI WOODYARD — Life is a ballet, and although it looks and feels beautiful at times our toes are bleeding and we wake in the night with muscle cramps. All of this strenuous work creates beauty and it is well worth the effort. I have never danced as hard as when my small daughter was fighting cancer. She took ballet at the age of five although she had a large muscle missing from her right leg. It contained the tumor that had to be removed.
I had to stand on the sidelines and grimace as she tried to do what the healthy little girls were doing. She was thin as a rail and white as a sheet, but she persevered because what little girl doesn’t love ballet? I myself was going through beautiful motions of love for her, trying to give her a normal life until she died. It was well worth it. Our Swan Lake was the real thing and when all of the curtain calls had been taken, she never returned.
Many years have gone by since her death and I am still writing about it. I have let go of her but the lessons learned are still bearing fruit. I have learned to trust beauty, whether it is of the heart, body or soul. It is truth in motion and it requires immense effort.
I have no doubt but that the ballet of life has a master choreographer. Someone who knows who is wearing the new tutus and pink slippers; someone who trusts that the music will be sweet and that the slippers are well-resined before the performance. I never see Swan Lake without being moved.
The real can never be taken from us, but the illusion is poignant indeed. Every year there are new dancers in the cast and in the beginning it seems that nothing will come together at the right time. Certainly as I danced through my daughter’s cancer over a period of three years, I often sat on the floor and wept — but I always got back up and played my part.
I followed the doctors’ instructions to give her a normal life. That included her dancing, wincing and triumphing. Her teacher, of course, fell in love with her, as did all who came to know her brave spirit.
Love knows the steps that it must take in the ballet of life.
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