Sunday, September 04, 2005

You live.

Donate to the Red Cross now.

I continue to write. Each day a card or a letter from me gets a stamp and goes on its way. My beautiful, wonderful husband encourages me to keep writing. He knows who I am so well and he comforts me now as I try to comfort the man that used to love me.

My parents went to see my friend, but were stopped before they knocked on the front door. He's too sick, his ex-wife said. She wanted my parents to tell me he knows I'm writing him as my cards and letters were being read to him. I appreciate her, even though I don't know her. I'm sorry for her and her own should-haves.

Last night was a respite from the death and destruction... at least for me. Berta Lou called and asked me to come to a girl's night. Frilly drinks and a chick flick and girl talk were just what we all needed. I love my Berta Lou. When I walked through her door, my first inclination was to feel guilty. I had no business spending my evening laughing when life is so ugly for so many right now.

But she knew best. It felt like baptism in a way. I needed to have my spirit cleaned up and to have some of that dark aura that has been surrounding me washed away. We giggled and watched a movie and talked about boys. It was as good as a pill.

My job has seemed so insignificant for the past couple weeks. I am a business consultant who spends her days spinning words so that consumers fully understand they cannot live another moment without whatever product or service my clients have to offer. I enjoy what I do very much, but as you can imagine, I haven't been inclined to try to persuade anyone to buy anything lately.

Then I realized that the business owners for whom I work needed a way to help and to heal as well. So at the end of last week, I was able to make contact with a tiny town in Louisiana that has been bombarded with evacuees from New Orleans and desperately needs help to care for them. "There are so many young people," said the unidentified city hall employee I spoke with, "We need help."

A list of specific supplies was given to me: baby wipes, Germ-X, Tylenol, garbage bags, feminine hygiene products. "We'll use anything you can send us," she said. That's the moment I took a breath and stepped outside my own sorrow to begin moving. I have written press releases, contacted local radio and newspaper and asked for donations. One of my business owners will ship all of it, no matter how much comes. This is only the first wave of support from my generous business owner. We will continue to do whatever we can to help them and I will personally see to it. I told my husband that I almost feel selfish as I work to get people to offer supplies because everything I do heals me in a way nothing else has. It's therapy for me.

But in all I do, my thoughts are never far from my old friend who is so sick and hurting so badly. I can't get far from him because I feel like if I do, he won't be there any more. I asked my husband last week the question that has been such a central part of my consciousness lately.

"What does a person do when someone says you only have weeks to live?" I asked.

Without hesitation he answered, "You live".


I Could Give All To Time
- A Poem by Robert Frost

To Time it never seems that he is brave
To set himself against the peaks of snow
To lay them level with the running wave,
Nor is he overjoyed when they lie low,
But only grave, contemplative and grave.

What now is inland shall be ocean isle,
Then eddies playing round a sunken reef
Like the curl at the corner of a smile;
And I could share Time's lack of joy or grief
At such a planetary change of style.

I could give all to Time except - except
What I myself have held. But why declare
The things forbidden that while the Customs slept
I have crossed to Safety with? For I am There,
And what I would not part with I have kept.

- Robert Frost

Copyright © 2004-2005, Sherri Bailey
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