My husband’s daughter, Heather was just readmitted to the hospital with the final stage of cancer. Last Sunday we had her and her husband Jerald over to share a meal with us. Reflecting on this experience afterwards, I wrote this poem…
The hiss/swish of her oxygen unit keeps time
like a hydraulic clock in the background
We converse and laugh
carefully avoiding the minefield of reality
the dark mist that surrounds us all
Her lashless eyes morphine heavy
Her head chemo bald
The nasal cannula that hangs from her nose
connects her to the lifeline of air
The decline of her shocks me
There is no longer room for miracles
How can I help in her mortal struggle?
All I can do is prepare a homecooked meal
with apple crisp for dessert
We savor it in the company of family
around the table in the warmth of my kitchen
Maybe that is enough
I saw you there
As I waited in queue to turn left
Windshield wipers chasing furious raindrops
The wind buffeting your cardboard sign
JUST GOT JOB
NEED MONEY FOR WORKBOOTS
The line of cars began to move forward
I turned left, not stopping for the man
Shame spreading down to my toes
In warm leather shoes.
This experience happened to me last week as I was leaving the grocery store parking lot. Why do I freeze up when I see homeless people on street corners asking for money? No matter what the backstory, these people are in need and they aren’t out stealing for it.
I live on a very modest income but I have enough to where I contribute to charities monthly. Maybe it’s seeing the actual face of need in person? All I know is that I did not go back through the traffic but I am making a commitment to change.
I just started following a blog by Cristian Mihai. Cristian is a talented writer from Romania with some type of serious, ongoing medical issues that appear to keep him housebound. He has put out a plea for donations to help pay is medical bills after his attempt to sell reblogs & books has not been enough. In a sense, he has put himself on a virtual street corner. To be honest, that same morning I had read his post, I felt the same hesitancy as when I drove past the man on the street corner. When I got home I made immediately made a donation to him on his Pay Pal account.
Times are tough for many in the world, but there is enough to go around if the wealth is spread. Cristian has over 120,000 followers. If every one of those followers donated $.15, his 8,000 medical treatment could be covered. I am humbled when I think of when back to when my son was critically ill as an infant. Friends and strangers stepped up to help out. Generosity is something I need to continue working on.