In the Nr. 3 2020 issue of Cancerfonden’s magazine, Rädda Livet (Cancer Foundation, Save Life), author and journalist Helena von Zweigbergk writes a chronicle about her friend Marie Fredriksson, how she admires her way of dealing with the difficult.
The title is Strong, stubborn, warm Marie. Helena tells that in December 2019 she got a phone call from some newspaper or radio or TV program while she was on her way to a studio for recording the reading of a book she had written a long time ago. The caller wondered if she had heard that Marie Fredriksson passed away. Helena remembers the wording, ”passed away”. She knew what it meant, but couldn’t process. She asked „where?”, to pull herself together and push the call away. There was no way she could tell anything. She knew it would happen. Helena and Marie had seen each other not too long ago and that meeting is stored in Helena’s private innermost being. Still, the news was shocking for her.
When they met to talk about writing a book together, Marie had a strong desire: ”People need to know what it’s like to be part of such a thing I’ve been through,” she said with the eyes filled with tears. She could be in despair, have angry tears, but always wiped them away with determined hands, Helena says. Then came what felt like Marie’s constant mantra: ”But it gets better. You have to think positively. It gets better.”
Helena could look into Marie’s expressive eyes and wonder how she could emotionally deal with being invaded by the evil forces of brain cancer. Marie was a fighter, Helena always thought so and said that many times, and she is not the only one. Marie’s struggle was not only physical survival, but also mental. To never let go of hope. Helena thinks one can say that it ended unhappily physically, but not mentally. She thinks hope and light were with Marie all the way and Helena is glad for Marie’s sake, that she managed to keep it.
Another friend of Helena who suffered from severe cancer, but survived, told her that she felt unsuccessful because she didn’t feel enlightened or closer to life than before. That she just thought it was awful, that she was mostly angry and didn’t feel like an admirable fighter at all, even though of course she was.
According to Helena, few things require as much courage as starting to approach one’s own or a loved one’s end. She can really understand someone who doesn’t have the strength or maybe even wants to be stoic on the road. Then at some point you should be able to turn your attention completely inwards.
Thanks for the hint, Paula Cafiero Högström!