My Dad never had treatment in the Yawkey Building at the Mass General Cancer Center. This state of the art facility opened the year he passed away. But I know there is one big component of our cancer journey, one powerful mechanism of healing, and one strong thread that weaves through both cancer centers and that I will never forget.
I used to drive my Dad to every cancer treatment. That was the only time, other than when he taught me how to drive, that he was a passenger in his own car. Getting into Boston was not always easy, and traffic is so much worse when your best friend is struggling to catch his breath and time is ticking to get to a treatment. The times we pulled into the valet parking lot at the MGH Cancer Center were perhaps our most vulnerable as a family. There were so many things we didn’t know going into each day, because my Dad’s cancer was so aggressive and spreading furiously. Amongst the chaos of those commutes, however, was a bright shining light named Mac.
Each day we arrived at valet, we were greeted with the warmest smile, and the softest and gentlest voice opening my Dad’s door and saying ‘Good morning Mr. Zuker, I hope today’s gonna be a good day for you.’ For one moment it felt like arriving at a 5 star hotel. Mac always made us feel at home, right away, and that made a big difference in a way that nothing else could have.
Fifteen years later and I’m back at the cancer center at Mass General Hospital in Boston. This is a newer building than the one my Dad was treated in. I’m at the hospital as the Artist In Residence, not brining my him to treatment. At the end of the hallway I notice someone has already carefully set up my table, and I see a familiar smile, and hear that gentle island voice. That voice that greeted us as we began our day at the hospital 15 years ago is the same one that has come full circle and welcomes us to the cancer center today.
‘Good morning Jonathan, I hope today’s gonna be a good day for you.’
It already is, Mac. Thanks to you.