It´s a late summer afternoon in September, we open a small creaky garden gate and follow a beautiful path that envelops us in greenery. Where the path ends, we arrive at the garden of Sophie and her family.
We feel a little like we are in a somewhat enchanted adventure garden. From the tree house there is a sweeping view over woods, as if we were in a place at the end of the world. A cheerful woof woof welcomes us - Sophie's cuddly dog trots towards us.
We are a little excited and embarrassed at the same time. Sophie notices this immediately and offers us a glass of white wine as a welcome drink, which immediately loosens everything up. That's Sophie, a person with a very fine feeling for the feelings of others, always trying to help and assist.
So it's no surprise that she chose the profession of a nurse. "That's why I knew exactly what this diagnosis meant and had no illusions about it," Sophie explains.
The conversation goes on and on and suddenly there it is, the diagnosis: it is advanced breast cancer with metastases in the lungs. After successful chemotherapy and breast surgery, the shock came soon: recurrence in the breast and lymph nodes - so the cancer was back. After another operation, it was clear that the metastases in the lungs were still there and would probably not go away.
She has been a palliative patient for a year.
This means that there is no longer any prospect of a cure and that the only thing left to do is to ensure as long and good a quality of life as possible, without pain, for the remainder of her life.
You look into this smiling, completely healthy-looking face and have to swallow. Nothing can be seen on the outside of this person. Sophie sips her white wine with a serene smile.
How to cope with this blow of fate? Talk, explain, understand...
Sophie does everything she can to make her children understand what is happening to her. Above all, to allay their fears.
Cancer is not evil, not a monster or anything like that, it is simply there and it also has an impact, she says. The children see a psychologist regularly. Sophie has received a special book from her, suitable for children, which she could use to discuss this topic in detail with her children.
She also receives a lot of support from her family and friends, but also from the so-called emergency mother service. These are women who come by regularly and take care of Sophie's household, cook, do homework with her children or play with them.
Freedom is - being able to have an effect where it is useful ...
When asked what freedom means to her, the mother of four children aged 14, 9, 6 and 4 doesn´t have to think long. She says that when she told her husband about her diagnosis on the phone, he immediately found something positive. Namely, that she no longer has to work.
Sophie, who is a very social person and loves her job very much - as it was once meant to be – hasn´t been able to give the care and companionship to her patients anymore.
Now she can use this liberty to look after two mentally ill flatmates on a voluntary basis,
... or simply go camping in the garden.
We suspect that Sophie has always been a freedom-loving person. Then she laughs and her eyes light up.
She tells us that she really enjoys spending carefree time with her family without this constant everyday pressure. Spontaneous excursions, get-togethers with friends or simply camping in the garden are some of the nice things about this "escapist life", as she calls it. Nothing is saved. Everything possible is spent on having the most enjoyable time possible.
Sophie delights us again with her charming smile and tells us that there are just so many great people in her life who give her so much.
She says: "They say you can only have a few real friends. But I don't think that's true. You can have many good friends." This creates a lot of security and joy in life as well as the good feeling that her family will be well looked after.
We are also part of a community
We are very grateful to Sophie because her acquaintance taught us a lot about ourselves and made us realise once again what really is important.
Firstly, that it is important to have a positive attitude without closing our eyes to the fact that there are also very negative things.
That is important to get involved, to be there for others, to listen to others and that it gives you a lot to give something back to others.
That respect and tolerance are not only essential within a community, but must be an indispensable common good in our society.
As part of our Kildwick community, we have donated to Sophie. If you would like to do the same, you can do so at the following link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/hilfe-fr-sophie-mama-von-4-kleinen-kindern?utm_campaign=p_lico+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer
Inspire the Kildwick community with your story too
We see ourselves as a active part of a community that should focus on our environment as well as on people. It is you who enrich us with your smiles, the experiences you have, the adventures you have.
Whatever story you got to tell - funny, adventurous, sad or moving - it is always worth telling. Like Sophie's story, which you can see on our YouTube channel.
Tell us via firstname.lastname@example.org what moves you, what you have experienced, what paths you have taken to your own personal freedom.
We look forward to meeting you, learning more about you and sharing it with all Kildwick Friends of Freedom!