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Thursday, June 21, 2012

How Tolkein and Dickinson Are Related, part two

It doesn't seem I'll be able to return to work, despite wanting to be back in the operating room. Not as a patient, mind you. Helping. But I suppose one of the main reasons I'm still alive and doing better is the fact that I'm not working. At least, that's what docs have said. And other medical professionals. And most of my friends. And a lot of my family. And I am thinking I should probably go along with this concept. Its so strange, I've been working since before high school, babysitting since it was legal for me to be left alone with kids, then at least full-time since adulthood. Prior to this being diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, if I wasn't working full-time, I was in school full-time while working part-time. I made time for fun, though. I have a few stamps in my passport from traipsing around the world.

But regardless of where I was, it was more about the people I was with, or who I was visiting. Which is why when all is said and done, to touch on my last post, I want people to say I was there for them. With them.

When I first got sick, one of my Choose-Your-Own adventure endings to my life was to travel to India or somewhere abroad where I could just volunteer everything to just hold babies until I died. But funding for that was nearly impossible, even though it seemed like a great idea. I needed a more thought out plan since my medications are not cheap, and being without them is drawn-out suicide . So now I have another Choose-Your-Own adventure ending, the 'just start driving' end, where I want to get the most fuel efficient car I can, and get my map, and start visiting the grown up versions of people I've missed seeing over the years, to see their happy lives, and be around their successes.

I've never been happy sitting in one place anyway. It'll be my proverbial long walk. After all...

"Not all who wander are lost."
--J.R.R. Tolkein

Travel details coming soon. Keep posted.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How Tolkein and Dickinson Are Related, part one

A friend of mine died coaching his son's soccer team. I wanted to be there for the funeral even if, truthfully, no one would have noticed I hadn’t gone. I hadn't seen him or his wife in years and, if anything, it might have been awkward. They might not have recognized me , they don't really know the grown up version of me . But I wanted to err on the side of being there. Just so she would know I still thought of them, even though it had been 19 years.

I have enough reminders proving I don't get to know when my turn on this planet is over. And I have regrets, but they all have something to do with me NOT being somewhere that I should have been, or not being there for someone when I could have been. I look back on my short life and my excuses are usually because of work . Which is completely legitimate and acceptable . But lying in the hospital for just under a month led me to realize I don't like being visited in the hospital. Actually, it’s more along the lines of, “I don't want to wait until I'm sick or dead to see who shows up.” I want to see people before I get sicker. Technology has put me back in touch with great people, the kind of friends that are worthy of the description at the end of the movie "Stand By Me:" I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. There are people I haven't seen in years that I would love to visit and know better and see they have turned into fantastic people . Many of them have , I just want to know them again, and hug them, and say hello and goodbye . I want to wander and find more greatness in those friends. I can see how teaching and parenting can be so rewarding this way, you see the potential, and then you see the results. And I like it.

A few years ago, okay maybe about a decade ago, I went to a choir performance, and an elderly gentleman came up to me. I knew exactly who he was, and we both had big smiles as we walked towards each other. Before anything was said, he reached out with both hands and held my face like a little child, and delighted, "I KNOW you!" I had to giggle a little when I realized he didn't remember my name but he kept repeating, "I KNOW you!" I didn't really care that he couldn't remember my name, I was absolutely tickled that he remembered me and smiled. All he remembered was that I was a part of his life somehow and that made him happy, and in turn, that delighted me . And I relish that feeling. I didn't need to bring up the fact that I used to go to his house with his children, and I knew stories of how he raised them, it didn't matter even though they were great stories . He saw me and knew I provided some kind of happiness, and I still can't stop smiling when I remember him holding my face that night. I love it when I recognize people and they recognize me and big, genuine, beaming smiles and laughter ensue . One of my top ten feel-goods . I love the fact that there is at least one three year old that thought at one point in his life that all lollipops come from my purse . I love to be the person who is there .

They might not need me -- yet they might --
I'll let my Heart be just in sight -- A smile so small as mine might be
Precisely their necessity.
- Emily Dickinson

More on this soon.