Tuesday, July 19, 2011


When I was seventeen I placed my son in the arms of a social worker at an adoption agency in Cedar Rapds, Iowa and walked out the door. Three weeks later my parents dropped me off at college. The summer after my freshman year, I stood vigil in a hospital while a series of medical dominoes tumbled my mother to the brink. In the middle of my sophomore year, I was the one who lay in a hospital bed for a month. The day I was released, I found out that my niece had cancer. Six months, the doctors said. Three weeks later my father was dead. The following year I had a second back surgery--an emergency. I can't quite remember if that trip back to the hospital was before or after the dearest of friends was taken down by a mental health crisis. Somewhere in that time frame my grandfather and an uncle died, and yet another high school friend was killed in a car accident.

There are times when we just have to huddle on the precipice. It really helps if we're not out there in the wind alone. Back then when I was in that tumbledown time in my life, I wasn't always sure how to ask for help--or how to give it, but now it feels to me that the giving and receiving of love and support is one of the most important things that we humans do.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

It's so evident that all of this personal tragedy has shaped you into one of the most compassionate people I know.