Photo of hospital bed from the internet
There were times on the AIDS ward, during the worst days of the epidemic, when several patients died on the same day. Broken-hearted lovers and friends and family members would circle the bed and weep as their beloveds departed. There were other days when everyone was well enough to be discharged and live another day. As soon as the bed was available, someone else would be admitted. Sometimes, when there was an empty bed, a doctor or nurse would slip into the room, lie down, and spend their lunch break taking a nap. People died in that bed, said goodbye in that bed, people arrived and were discharged from that bed, people rested in that bed. It all happened in the same big bed.
Photo of two hands from the internet
It seems all the news tonight is mean-spirited and cruel and violent, so I’m calling in the kindness of strangers I’ve met along the way. Once, while sitting next to a pediatrician on a flight to Florida, a sudden announcement asked if there was a medical person on board. The pediatrician pushed her call light. The steward came up the aisle and asked the doctor to come into first class. A few minutes later, the steward returned and collected the doctor’s things and took them forward. Afterwards, when I went to look for her, I found her holding the hand of a fellow passenger whose face and torso were covered with a small blue blanket. I asked her if she was okay and she smiled and nodded. When the plane finally landed and we all filed off, she was still sitting there next to him, his hand in hers.
Photo of Emma from the internet
It’s been 163 days since Trump was elected. One week ago today, Emma Morano died. She’d been alive 42,842 days, surviving countless wars and other calamaties, including the death of her only son, who lived less than 8 months. Born in 1899, she was the last known survivor of the 19th century. She had few worldly possessions and applied a supermarket-aisle anti-aging cream every evening before going to sleep. The reason for her longevity was a mystery. Was it the three raw eggs she ate every day for nearly a century? She never set foot in a hospital, loved clocks, worked until she was 75 and lived independently until she was 115. She had what she called an “unfortunate marriage” and separation in 1938 that made her never contemplate marriage again. “I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone,” she said.
Photo of Aretha Franklin from the internet
I’m so over all the hoopla about Trump's first 100 days; I’d rather celebrate and acknowledge more important events that have occurred on this day, April 29th, over the centuries. In 1990, wrecking cranes began tearing down the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate and, in 1974, US Richard Nixon said he would release the edited tapes that were made in the White House. In 1968 "Hair" opened on Broadway at the Biltmore Theater and ran for almost 5 years and the year before Aretha Franklin released "Respect." In 1905, 2 inches of rain fell on Taylor, TX, (in 10 minutes!) and in 1852 the 1st edition of Peter Roget's Thesaurus was published. Mozart’s Sonata in B flat premiered in 1784 and, if all of this wasn’t enough, in 1553 a Flemish woman introduced the practice of starching linen to the English.
Couple pointing out to sea, photo by me
It’s been 177 days since the election and I’m still waiting, waiting for something to happen that will change what’s going on in the White House. I think about it, worry about it, am preoccupied with it, get hopeful about it, get nervous about it, don’t know what to do about it. I went to the beach and watched a young couple holding hands, whispering to each other, embracing each other. I wondered whether they were waiting for something to happen too. Then they began to excitedly point out to sea. “There, there!” they yelled to someone on the beach. I scanned the horizon repeatedly, but couldn’t see it. I stood there, waiting for that which I was looking for to become clear. But without knowing what it could be, restless for something, anything to upset Trump’s terrible trajectory, I could feel how hard I am working, negotiating my hope with the harsh reality that I may be waiting for nothing.