A Fragment on Suffering: Meaning, Lack of it and Stars…Lots about stars.


Thank you ESA/HUBBLE for permitting the reproduction of this beautiful, inspiring image.

‘Some people are lucky enough to escape through life relatively  unscathed from the hands of suffering – why that is, I don’t know.  Unfortunately you are not one of them.’

I like to look at the dark, starry sky outside my window. Early morning when I wake up I look out up at three stars in particular and I imagine them close up, millions of light years away; crackly, deadly white surfaces, pulsating giant furnaces, nothing like that delicate, benign white light that I see twinkling across the galaxy. Maybe they too are surrounded by an ‘earth’ with some other inhabitants who right now look back at my sun – pondering the same things I am. But far, far away. And I think about the meaningless of it all – my transience and the temporary existence I lead will, some day, be snuffed out with my last breath. The intense struggle to do and be – gone. Then, not soon after (in Universe terms at least), the exhausted sun will heave its last breath – and it’ll all be over. You may think I am strange, but I am comforted by that. I am comforted by the absence of meaning. I imagine our cindered earth and the dust of me within it, turning back into nebula, swirling star dust that bore me, the Earth, our Solar System, our sun and I feel relief. There will be a single end, from star dust to star dust.

And I think how beautiful that is.

Some people like to search for ‘the meaning’ in difficult times – that’s great. I don’t search for a meaning in these dark, difficult times. Any meaning that I could glean from this, would be something imposed upon it, not found within it. This is not a ‘test’ of strength for me, this isn’t something I have to do to prove myself. It’s something I have to mould myself around, carve myself out of, build myself anew.

I have found my life force – the fire within, it is fierce, burning as deadly as those stars are.

I watch my daughter balloon in front of my own eyes, her tiny legs struggling to hold the weight of her new, unfamiliar body, a body grown so wide my arms can now only just wrap themselves around her. The dark hunger deep in her eyes. And I hate that hunger. Each step she takes, there is pain, she expects it now. There is always something disturbing her, hurting her.

‘Mummy?’ She looks up at me, ‘Can you do something about it?’ 

Sometimes I can. Other times I am clutching at straws – my magic wand doesn’t always work. I squeeze my eyes shut and raise my open palms to the universe as her suffocating pain engulfs me. I hate her pain.

I scream and scream my hate into the void but in that void there is, of course, only silence.

But the stars outside my window, their comforting twinkle across that void, dissolve my hate and  every day and fill me with calming peace. They are constant. And I will fight to be, glow and burn like them as brightly as I can.

Sorry, a slip blip to the usual Nurse Naomi stuff (Er, did I ever mention my undergraduate Philosophy background? Well, now you know!). For less philosophical posts you can find out more about our Brain Tumour journey here! And I also up date my Facebook page daily. 


  7 comments for “A Fragment on Suffering: Meaning, Lack of it and Stars…Lots about stars.

  1. Jayne
    May 31, 2014 at 2:50 am

    You are a great writer as well. I too, as a parent of a brain cancer survivor, constantly look for reasons. People have many different opinions about possible reasons and I have yet to agree with any of them. I’m sorry for your daughter’s struggles. I can only empathize and commiserate and pray that some day there will be a cure for our children. Children should not have to endure such hardships!

    • Naomi R Cook
      June 1, 2014 at 1:34 am

      Thanks Jayne, I hope so too x

  2. Clare Winsor
    May 31, 2014 at 8:14 am

    We are all just star dust, keep shining x

    • Naomi R Cook
      June 1, 2014 at 1:34 am


  3. Andrea Robinson
    May 31, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    This is very powerful, Naomi. It’d make a great opening for a novel…

    • Naomi R Cook
      June 1, 2014 at 1:35 am

      Thanks Andrea! And interesting about the novel idea…I’m working on it 😉

      • Andrea Robinson
        June 1, 2014 at 10:47 am

        I can’t wait to read it. (Seriously, if you need a test reader, let me know!)

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