C. S. Lewis’s mother, Flora, began to suffer with cancer in February 1908. Among the nurses who attended the family was A. M. Davison, known to the family as “Nurse Davison.” She was present when Flora passed away on August 23, 1908, and remained a friend of the family for many years.
On September 29, 1929, C. S. Lewis responds to a letter he received from Ms. Davison. Many years passed between them but now, September 25, Lewis’s father, Albert, has passed away. The nurse sends her condolences and wonders if one of her little charges still remembers her. Lewis writes,
“My dear Nurse Davison
“Excuse me. I cannot address you by any other name. Remember you? I should think I do. Do you remember the night Warnie and I came home very late and got into trouble and were sent to bed without supper, and you brought us in bread and jam in our little room — opposite my father’s bedroom? Do you remember the night you went to the Mikado with Warnie and I wasn’t allowed to go? Do you remember the first night before my poor mother’s operation when you both sat and talked about operations and I said ‘Well you are gloomy people.’ And now it has all happened again with my father. I thought of you a lot during his illness and wish you could have been with him. He constantly mentioned you and your photo has been on the mantelpiece at Little Leah for a great many years.”1
Here was a nurse brought into a home to attend to a woman dying of cancer. Now, over 20 years later, she realizes just how much she accomplished. Makes you wonder about what you did today.
“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.”- Proverbs 22:1.
- Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, Vol. III (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 1513-1514. Italics in original.