Tuesday, September 07, 2004

New York Reflections

Back in Midwesternville at the start of our new work week. What a week, a busy week this will be. But, before that starts, I'd like to share some thoughts and experiences with you from my working weekend in New York.

My friend E (the one who is ill of whom I spoke here) is having a very diffiuclt time. [D, you might want to skip this paragraph, as the description below may be too close to home.] As much as I expected it, I still wasn't fully prepared for her appearance, her immense weight loss (she is mere skin and bones, with skin hanging off of her where there used to be muscle tone and minimal body fat) and the incredible aging in her face. While trying to describe her to J, what came to mind is that in the last 8 months since I saw her, she has aged 15 years. While still mobile within her apartment, she uses a wheelchair for long walks and musuem visits. She and her husband have made the choice for Hospice care (her nurse visited one of the days she was there and while caring for her, made her laugh - what a blessing) and there seems to be a degree of acceptance that this cancer will kill her, but it is still so sad. We had some powerful and heart-to-heart emotional conversations during the weekend, and while I didn't literally say "good-bye," she clearly knows how I feel about her and what she means to me. I am grateful for the opportunity to do that in person.

Now, for some lighter reflection on New York. What a fun and vibrant city. Travelling via foot and subway, journeying from place to place with people from all parts of life and the world has an element of fun and anonymity which I enjoyed. The New Yorkers I encountered were friendly and even sweet (one night while walking to the subway a couple asked me to take their picture and they were so cute, laughing and enjoying their love that it felt contagious) and helpful. Yesterday, I took a the subway to JFK airport (instead of a shuttle or cab - an excellent choice at the advice of a new friend A) and the first subway it took (the 4) was so full that I ended up having to squish in (me, my satchel and my luggage) with four men originally from the Dominican Republic (now New Yorkers) and we shared laughs and they helped me figure out which stop I needed (it had a different name than what I thought).

I had a great time, even with the other stuff going on, and I look forward to going back to visit New York again.

Wishing you a thriver day,
Your sister survivor,

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