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Maenad memories and random ramblings [Mar. 11th, 2003|07:03 pm]
John
Time has always been my enemy.

Time slips away, quickly, and soon I find that there's none left for things that I wanted to do... or, that too much time has slipped away before I did something important, like email a sick friend.

I guess, though, that sometimes things work out okay.

There was a woman, an old friend of my mother-in-law. She was dying of bowel cancer. Chris, her mother, and I were going to visit her.

It was the first time that I ever tried to work magic on another human being. Don't ask me why I did it, or how the thought came into my head, but, I tried to reach her spirit, and tell her that it was okay... it was okay to leave as soon as she was ready.

I remember that they ground her morphine pills, and she rubbed the powder into her gums... I remembered feeling strange at how routine it was.

When I was leaving, I made sure I looked at her face, I made sure I smiled at her, and I made sure I hugged her (gently) for longer than I knew I needed to. I made sure that, as best as I could, that she knew that I cared, and that I found her as lovable as I could find any person I'd just met.

People who are dying sometimes starve for touch; people don't even realize that they're shying away as if the disease is contagious, you see.

She was dead less than 24 hours later. And I guess it's a 'confession' when I say that I think I had something to do with that. Yes, I think it's possible - though perhaps I would *only* say this on the anniversary of another friend's death - that I did manage to reach her spirit and say "really; it's okay. As soon as you're ready, it's okay to go."

It's interesting; I learned about Anna/Maenad while drunk on wine. It's *really* crazy, but I told the friend I was speaking to on the phone that I didn't think her time was up yet. I had a feeling that we weren't near the end of the path.

What's weird, though, is that it was more-or-less chance that I learned of her problems. She'd emailed a bunch of people, and asked them if they wanted to be part of a mailing list. I, of course, forgot to reply immediately. If I hadn't been talking to this friend, I wouldn't have learned.

Like I said, time is my enemy; I should have acted faster, so I couldn't forget. Then again, even coming in late, I think I did some good.

I went back through my Eudora Light outbox... my last email to Anna was sent on the second. The first words - no points for guessing :-) - were "hey, beautiful". The last, besides my signature, were "I love you; I hope you can always remember that."

I ended it with one of my favorite sign offs: "Love always,".

It's got two meanings, you see... "(you have my)Love always" and "Love (as in: "be loving") always".

Boy, this is rambling, isn't it?

Tonight, I'm following the example of some others, and I had kielbasa and saurkraut, with extra garlic, onion, and apple added. It's as close to 'Polish' food as I could get for her.

I'm remembering another fine meal I ate, though, with her, during my drive to Washington. I revealed one of my gifts to her; a Callahanian who needed money was my "Secret Santa" that year, and I sent what money I could spare, which was enough, I'm sure, to fill a couple of Christmas stockings and possibly pick up some niceties for a Christmas dinner.

I don't like to talk about that kind of thing too much; it's too much like bragging, sometimes, but I realized it would make her happy, so I did, and it *did* make her happy... more than I could have realized.

It turns out she was afraid that the giver of money had been a certain Mr. Tennant, and was immensely relieved to find out that it wasn't him.

Those of you who don't know, that Mr. Tennant decided to take offense that a woman dared disagree with him while posting from a government hosted site, costing the government precisely $0.0000. (those extra 0s are to add the proper number of significant figures...) How dare she waste taxpayer money! So, without caring about what her circumstances might be, he took action.

I told him what her circumstances were; his response was to offer to reach for his checkbook. I told him that cash was not the problem; what she needed couldn't be bought.

When I think of what good he could have accomplished with nothing more than a humble apology, it makes me sad to realize that his first and only thought was cash.


I believe more in magic now, and I think Anna may have visited me today, to remind me of magic, and to remind me that I need to keep trying to work what magic I can long distance. Though it's frequently delivered through nothing more than a computer keyboard and a lot of caring, I hope it will always be able to do good, the way it was able to do good for Anna
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: kshandra
2003-03-11 10:03 pm (UTC)
She'd emailed a bunch of people, and asked them if they wanted to be part of a mailing list.

When I wrote back to say yes, she sent me an "Are you sure?" email, saying she thought it would hit a little too close to home for me (knowing gridlore's history). Of course, I knew exactly what that meant before she even revealed the diagnosis - and knew also that I had to be there for her.

The horrifying thing is that she wasn't the first friend murphymom and I lost to endometrial cancer.... It's been almost ten years since I last saw Gale alive, and I still miss her.

I told him what her circumstances were; his response was to offer to reach for his checkbook.

With conditions, no doubt - JOT only seems to offer money if the recipient will jump through enough hoops that he can list it as a tax writeoff. (Go ahead, ask me how I know this. *wry smile*)

I believe more in magic now, and I think Anna may have visited me today, to remind me of magic, and to remind me that I need to keep trying to work what magic I can long distance. Though it's frequently delivered through nothing more than a computer keyboard and a lot of caring, I hope it will always be able to do good, the way it was able to do good for Anna.

I hope so, too.

*hugs offered*
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[User Picture]From: kightp
2003-03-11 10:33 pm (UTC)

Anna loved this song

No One is Alone
from "Into the Woods"
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

No one here to guide you,
Now you're on your own.
Only me beside you . . .
Still, you're not alone.
No one is alone, truly.
No one is alone.

Sometimes people leave you
Halfway through the wood.
Others may deceive you
You decide what's good.
You decide alone,
But no one is alone.

People make mistakes,
Fathers, mothers,
People make mistakes
Holding to their own,
Thinking they're alone.

Honor their mistakes
Everybody makes
One another's terrible mistakes.
Witches can be right,
Giants can be good.
You decide what's right
You decide what's good.
Just remember . . .

Someone is on your side.
Someone else is not.
While you're seeing your side
maybe you forgot:
They are not alone.
No one is alone.

Hard to see the light now
Just don't let it go.
Things will come out right now
We can make it so.
Someone is on your side
No one is alone.

(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: submarine_bells
2003-03-11 11:40 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure what I want to say here; but I want you to know that I read this, and was much moved by it. Thank you for sharing it.
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