Adrian Catana

Marlene, radiography of a drama

Life plays tricks on us many times and we only understand much later (quite often too late) fragments of the messages we had received earlier in our existence. We must always learn from our and others’ experiences, even from the unfortunate ones.

Before he became our friend „Adi“, Adrian was (and still is) a man full of humor and innovative ideas who had found us and had invited us into his charming Jiu Valley, surrounded by beautiful mountains, in Transylvania — Romania, in a mining area devastated by unemployment and economic crisis. His brilliant idea was for us to build an adventure park, as we had been the first to implement this exotic idea in this country. Excited by the project which should be connected with an interactive mining museum, engaged in enthusiastic conversations, and getting closer, we became friends.

The park project never saw daylight, even if it was fairly advanced. But we gained the trust and sympathy of the lovely couple made by him and his wife Marlene — on her real name — Marilena.

During one of our business trips in the Jiu Valley related to the park project, we had the opportunity to meet Marilena once, before the slightest hint of the horrible and quick disease that finally took her life away gave the slightest hint.

Later the imperatives of existence separated us from their couple. When in 2012 we found out about the death of this woman of our own age, we were profoundly shocked and sad. Adi sent us the manuscript that you are about to read: a shocking and moving testimony which tells the story of the „radiography of a drama“— the last year of Marilena’s life, who some people called Marlene. She was a woman full of life who left us too early, defeated by a disease which does not forgive negligence, does not take into account love, despair or even the willingness to go on living and sharing a quiet and happy couple life similar to the one Adi and Marilena had in a small town in Romania, Petroșani.

This book is more than a moving confession of a drama lived by both of them, in the intimacy of a couple violated by such a hard experience, of an irreplaceable loss, of a liberating gesture to register everything in writing, a traumatic experience both for the cancer victim and for her companion, but it is above all a distress signal addressed to women, parents, girls, wives and loved ones who do not wish to live through such a nightmare. As a matter of fact, the disease that took Marlene so quickly can be treated if discovered in its early stages. A regular check up and a very simple test allow the detection in due time of the pre-cancerous cells and their treatment.

In order to go on… living.

By this sincere and sad chronicle where humor is not a miss, Adi wanted to pay a unique homage to his wife, to give her a gift that exceeds time and space, showing her his deep love, and at the same time trying to spare the life of other women and of their entourage to live such dramas. In my opinion, it is the most beautiful lesson of humanity and love that can be taught from such a mournful experience.

It is the same prophylactic endeavor to avoid such a disease, to give life and love a chance that made me conceive my little notebook «Mon carnet féminin intime», (published in several languages), which, if you are a woman, might help you remember to take care of yourselves. And if you have a daughter, this booklet might help you teach her the importance of this information and to create her healthy reflexes to maybe save her life.

As a companion of a cancer victim you must never get discouraged, you must forge in yourselves this resilience which will humanize and transcend the disease, even as a last adventure as a couple. Thus you will be able to show your most profound, human, beautiful love: the one that consists of not uselessly adding your unhappiness to the victim’s suffering in order to truly help him/her, with all your heart and from the bottom of your heart.

Hoping that his message and his cry of despair will be heard,

Cristina & Olivier Rebière
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