I have to tell you that since Keith was so kind as to let me post some of these Nancy’s Notes on The Front Page I have found trying to find things of some interest to me to think about and write about that might also have some modicum of appeal harder than it might seem. I have acquired nothing but super admiration for those who have the talent to put out frequent columns.
The title, Inspiration, has been dancing around in my head for maybe a week. I was going off to sleep at night thinking on it and why I might have anything worthy of a Note to get down. I found myself looking at the Gila Woodpecker pecking away into the pineapple palm tree and thinking is this hole an inspiration. I wasn’t sure what he thought when Mama and Papa Starling moved in and made it their nest. Mr. Woodpecker moved to a different palm tree and began again. He was inspired to succeed.
Yesterday I think I found my answer. When I worked as the Director of Clinical Services for hospice I came in contact with remarkable people, both patients and staff. Two years ago a wonderful Social Worker, named Eileen, came into the office and with nothing but stoic body language she said to me, “I have to tell you something but I can’t take any questions today”. What she told me was her husband, John, had been diagnosed with inoperable esophageal cancer and given maybe a year to live. I asked no questions, we hugged and she left the office. As the weeks passed she did get more open about where they were in any treatment. The biggest concern was a teen aged son due to graduate the following year. This couple planned out the things they had wanted to do in the future and began to do them immediately. John was determined to see his son graduate. He did and a week later John died. Eileen picked up the pieces of her family and went back to work.
She asked me to have lunch with her yesterday. I knew it was the year’s anniversary of John’s death. I met her and she said “I just had to see you, Nancy, for you always put such a positive spin on everything in life and I think I need that”. I was a bit taken back as it isn’t really easy for me to know what the right words are in plenty of situations. She went on to tell me how often I had counseled staff to let life come to you – don’t go trying to mold it to your wishes. Make a goal and see if it will work.
Last night I knew she was the inspiration I was looking for. What a treasure to know someone who has lost their spouse at an early age and yet is looking for all the ways to move forward. Thanks, Eileen. As they say ‘You made my day’.