Saturday, August 20, 2005

An interesting Saturday

I’ve debated all day whether to write about the sounds of my neighborhood or my client with cancer. On the one hand, (or topic) it’s semi-frivolous, which is good for Saturdays. On the other hand… dealing with cancer is a far more important topic. So I mix them both tonight.

The day has been filled with normal Saturday things. Cleaning the house, running errands, finding some fun, time to sit on my deck and let the sunshine feed my soul… and grocery shopping… ah yes, grocery shopping.

I live in a fairly small community. Most folks know if something major is going on in someone’s life. And if something major is going on, everyone pitches in to help or celebrate. In whatever form that may take. Bring ‘em a meal if they have had surgery or a baby. Sit with ‘em if they just lost a family member. Rejoice with ‘em if they just got a job or a promotion.

Set up a fundraiser to help with the huge expenses of chemo and radiation when they are self-employed and haven’t the insurance to cover the costs.

I’ve known for weeks now that a client has cancer and is not doing well. It is well known that she probably won’t make it. But…

There is a surprise fund-raiser set up to help her with financial issues. It’s scheduled for next week. People in the community are donating things for live and silent auction items… and there is a big lunch set up to do this auction, with all the proceeds from the lunch going to the lady with cancer. The restaurant is only keeping the exact costs of the food… and donating their wait staff time.

Several folks from my office have donated items. I’ve given a set of picnic-ware to be auctioned off.

But today I went grocery shopping…

… and there she was. A woman on a store scooter, wearing a pink scarf tied around her head to hide the loss of her hair. Hard to recognize, but it certainly was my client with cancer.

She didn’t see me and I could have breezed on by. Since she didn’t see me, she never would have known that I saw her. Pulling Kleenex from the shelf and putting it in her cart. Riding the store scooter because she doesn’t have the strength anymore to walk to do her shopping.

I had to go back and talk to her. It was good. She was so glad I stopped. We talked about how hard chemo is (I saw tears in her eyes) and if I could help with casseroles for her freezer. I think I will never forget how her face lit up when I told her that I’d recognized her for her face in spite of the loss of hair.

I will also never forget the hug she gave me.

I came home, hugged my sweet husband and went outside to sit in the sunshine and let it feed my soul. Listening to the sounds of children playing hide-and-seek in my neighborhood. The buzzing of bees as they check me out and inspect my glass of wine. Hearing mariachi music from down the street and my next-door neighbor pressure washing his house in order to paint it.

Reflecting on how good my life is, no matter how stressful my individual days may be.

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