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this was no tuesday with morrie...

6.24.2009

my neighbor, nanci, called me yesterday to ask me to help. she asked me to sit with another neighbor, donna, whom i have never met before this afternoon.

donna has cancer. only 2-3 months to live. she needed someone at the house for four hours to make sure her needs were met, and she was comfortable.

ok. i would do it. happily.

i knocked on the door. another person i had never met answered the door...she was on her way out. i would be taking her place for the next few hours. nanci was there to introduce me to donna. donna did not want to meet me. a few more minutes, and she had to meet me.

nanci wheeled donna out into the family room where i sat on the couch. there was the introduction. no smiles from donna. just wandering eyes. avoiding another connection that would only leave her in more grief to leave this earth.

just donna and i. i tried not to sound unnatural or awkward. failed. we faded in and out of conversation. she constantly stroked her hair, and rubbed her chin. she told me she was insecure about her looks...so much older looking. i don't think she ever stopped touching her hair and face the entire afternoon.

i listened. but there really wasn't much to listen to. she would talk every now and then. rarely did she actually answer my questions, or comment on my stories. she would only comment when she wanted to tell me how miserable life is for her. i tried to listen intently to her at these moments. i never gave advice. i listened because she didn't talk much at all.

there's not much hope in her, and she isn't prone to give sage advice. she's dying, and that's what's killing her.

(names have been changed)
(photo by me)

1 comments:

Judy said...

"...she's dying, and that's what's killing her." This is absolutely GREAT! Why has no one else commented on this post? It is one of the most random, perfectly-written pieces of prose I have ever read. I happened upon your blog by clicking the arrow at the top of mine, which has nothing on it yet - call it profound writer's block - I am stunned with your honesty. Thank goodness you have the encouragement of your friends, and especially your husband, who takes time to post comments about what he loves that you have written and photographed. I have read everything on your blog, plus the comments. I am transported to a different world. I feel safe, regarded and challenged. I am IN LOVE with your mother, confused by no mention of your father (did he die when you were young?), intrigued by your family in general. Your writing is heartfelt and moving, as is your photography. I wish you much luck in your Ayurvedic studies, but PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't stop writing or taking pictures (or drawing, for that matter)!!!