THE ONES WHO PAY ATTENTION

I heard a good man today say he recently sat by his ex-wife’s bedside and nurtured her for the last two weeks of her life. I could not stop my tears. While my ex-wife may have a different outcome, she is fighting a life threatening monster of an ailment: aplastic anemia, a shit of a condition in which the bone marrow refuses to make the amount of platelets it was hired to make.


The man’s voice moved through and past his tears, then through and past mine ,and right to the center of my heart.



We are each of us human, life and death happens to us whether we like it or not and each of us has only so much say. While none of us alone can save the world, or save each other from the world, we can remember to love each other, to be there for each other. It is the being there that means the most, at least that is my feeling.


Someone once asked me who I remembered most after my hardest hits in life: the shooting, the death of my father, the suicides of a mother, brother, birth-father. Without having to think about it I said, The ones who paid attention. Those that made the biggest difference were the ones that simply paid attention.


Many years ago I was among a group of 15 folks or so that were trained in crisis counseling by two very talented social workers from New York City’s non-profit Victim Services Agency. I remember one of the social workers, Inez Kramer, telling us, “Always remember, the one who is doing the most talking is the one who is getting the most help.”


Thank you for helping me tonight. Thank you for paying attention.

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