Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Death of a Noble Woman, The Birth of a Dis

The Australian newspaper the "Herald Sun" has published a story recently which I believe deserves great attention. This is a true story of the greatest nobility possible to a human being: a mother who chose to give up her own life, so that her daughter could be born.

The full story is below. I wanted to take some time tonight to honor the spirit of Dr. Ellice Hammond, who made the ultimate act of self-sacrifice, so that her daughter could be born. She died so that another might live; her belief in the sacredness of her unborn child's life was such that her true motherly nature freely gave itself to death. Words cannot express the power of this act; the nobility displayed by this woman will be remembered among the Ancestors for all time, the same Ancestors that Dr. Hammond is now at home among.

To make such a selfless sacrifice is in keeping with the greatest tradition of our Ancestors. From the timeless event of Odin's own self-sacrifice, in the quest for Wisdom, to Tyr's sacrifice of his own flesh to the jaws of the great Wolf so that the order of the world and all life might be preserved, men and women from all eras who can rightly be described as "Godly" have been paying with their own lives so that others might live.

An act of such great nobility will automatically assure that Dr. Hammond leaves the darkness of Hel, after her passage there, and will be carried by the Disir to the heights of Asgard, where she will become one of the Disir, those divine maidens who forever watch over and protect their descendants, and feast in the presence of the Allfather and the great heroes of old. Her sacrifice was no less than any man's noble death in battle; what she died for was not just her daughter, but for the future, for her own daughter's children will carry on her life-power into this world until the day of doom.

I pray that we can all make the same sacrifice with a brave heart, if Fate calls for us to do so. I pray that all people can learn from this woman who is now a divine spirit, watching over us, and that we can emulate her example in our lives, when we are called upon to make lesser sacrifices. I honor her now as I will everday henceforth. I also honor those women who have done the same, in all times and places, whose names we do not know.

In the approaching Winter Nights sacrifices and feasts, I and the Idavoll Kindred will make a special toast to this woman, this Dis, and honor her in other ways. Dr. Hammond was the best of women, and her example gives courage to us all. I also hope that the Gods give strength to her grieving husband; despite his understandable grief, he should be the proudest of all men.

Here is the story:

A BRAVE doctor stopped her own cancer treatment, sacrificing herself to save the life of her unborn child.

Dr Ellice Hammond, 37, lost her battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma on Sunday, just three weeks after the premature birth of her first child, Mia Ellice.

The Glen Iris GP chose not to have high-level chemotherapy that may have saved her life but could have killed her child.

She was diagnosed in the 22nd week of her pregnancy, and Mia was induced at 31 weeks, on August 20.

Mia is being treated at Monash Medical Centre's neonatal intensive care unit.

During her pregnancy, Dr Hammond endured three rounds of reduced-strength chemotherapy in order to protect her daughter.

But after each treatment the cancer returned worse than before, and stepped-up treatment after the birth was not enough to save her.

Distraught husband Peter Wojcik said he was proud of his wife's devotion to the daughter she had always dreamed of.

"It feels like I got robbed of a wife and a mother," he said.

"I guess she didn't expect it to go this way, and if she did she wasn't telling us.

"But she would just want what is best for Mia and for everyone to love her and carry on with life.

"We had to make a decision on whether we would take the baby out early, while Ellice was relatively healthy. Otherwise, there was no point carrying the baby -- the baby would be affected by the illness."

Seeing his wife and daughter together for a precious few days has been of some solace to him.

"Her whole life was looking forward to being a mum. She loved it," Mr Wojcik said.

"They have a kangaroo chair here, where they can put the baby down inside your shirt and you can lie back.

"And the first time Ellice tried that, she had tears coming down. She was just so happy.

"That is one of the reasons she used her name as Mia's middle name, so she could pass something of herself on to her."

Australian marathon champion Kerryn McCann, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last month, is now fighting a similar battle.

The Commonwealth Games marathon gold medallist gave birth to son Cooper Patrick on September 6.

He was induced six weeks premature so that she could begin chemotherapy.

Dr Hammond had thought her initial symptoms were due to the pregnancy.

But a bone marrow biopsy in June revealed she had Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Mia was protected by her placenta during the three rounds of chemotherapy.

She is developing well, and Mr Wojcik hopes to take her home in the next fortnight.

"I think she'll be a little spoilt wild one, but I'll love her to bits," he said.

"The day that Ellice passed away I brought the grandparents in, and we had a little private room, and we sat for a couple of hours with Mia. And I think it was good healing.

"She was a little happiness at the end of a hellish day.

"She shows no signs of any problems and her blood vessels are good. She is gaining weight and eating well.

"I don't know how much of her (Ellice) will be shown in little Mia, but it will be interesting to find out over the years," Mr Wojcik said.

"Ellice was an angel. She had a great sense of humour, and made people laugh because she liked to clown around a lot.

"A lot of her patients loved her because she'd take the time to talk to them.

"She was a good counsellor to a lot of people."

1 comment:

Isabella LeCour said...

She is mother of mothers, to be praised and honoured. Hold her name high, giver of life, of love.

She truely gave her all.
May her daughter be forever blessed.