The universal human condition writ small

Dear President Trump,

I am going to catch a 7am flight to Atlanta tomorrow morning. Laura went on ahead this afternoon to be with her brother and our brother-in-law (BIL) as BIL is failing rapidly. She was at the hospital and we just spoke briefly. She said tomorrow they will start removing the supports that have been propping BIL up so that he can go ahead and go. It’s selfish and if he’s in any pain I don’t want this, but I hope he’s still alive when I get there tomorrow afternoon as I’d like to be able to say a proper goodbye. He’s been a dear friend and really a rock for me these past 30 years and I will miss him terribly. He’s been such a presence for a lot of people, really, and the world will be diminished once he leaves us.

Yesterday at work the theme of early, sudden death was prominent as people talked about having lost friends to suicide or to the ravages of hidden heavy drinking. At one point someone reminded everyone present to turn off their cell phones and I had to let them know I couldn’t because I might get a call any time about my family member. They were sweet and asked if I wanted time to talk about it. I demurred but let them know I’d do my best to weave in what we all seem to be learning about the universal human condition. And I did and they helped and there were tears. Really overall it was a pretty normal day at the VA except for the overlay of my acute sadness and the fact that I was waiting for a dreaded phone call.

I don’t know what tomorrow has in store, but I’m grateful that I’ll be there to help in any way I can. A lot of people have been wonderfully helpful to us at the last minute, and at every turn I’ve been reminded of how much we all need each other. In our situation it’s been friends, family, and co-workers mostly, but even the airline customer service person Laura spoke with this morning was kind and accommodating. We really are all in this together.

I hope you have people who are willingly there for you when you need them, people you don’t have to pay, coerce, or threaten into behaving the way you want them to behave. We all need people in our lives who will just step up and take care because they truly care.

May we be safe and secure in all of our relationships.
May we be happy to help one another.
May we take care of one another’s health and when health fails, may we help one another go in peace.
May we all be at peace with ourselves and each other before we go.
And so shall it be.

Tracy Simpson

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