Paid forward and forward and more to come
Wednesday February 08th 2023, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Friends,Life

She so admired the dandelion gerdan I was wearing that day.

I went back to one of my artist friends in Ukraine and explained that I wanted one of her designs for a dear friend: and so it was custom made and sent on its way, taking a little less than the usual time to get here.

Marnie stopped by today and I told her I was hedging my bets–and since I’d been able to have a choice, she should, too.

What I didn’t know was that she’d come out of retirement to teach refugees at the community college to help them get certification in what they were already trained in in their former countries: there’s an intense program that puts great demand on both teachers and students and both have to be completely committed to it–but their graduation rate is 100% so far.

Some of her students are Ukrainian refugees. She was wearing a shirt one of them had designed with a sunflower on it–she’d bought six.

We are distant cousins, can you tell?

She knew they would instantly know what her gerdan was and the enormity of the support it would convey.

I’d had no idea. None. All I’d known was that it felt imperative to gift specifically Marnie with a beaded necklace from Ukraine.

She exclaimed over the tininess of the beads and the size of needle that would require and how, on both of them, the artists had had the skill to make the thing lie perfectly flat. She was familiar with beading looms and the work involved.

I reminded her of the day twenty years ago when I’d been released from the hospital with a PICC (pronounced pick) line still in, a direct path for the next IV from the outside threading through to just above my heart: just in case I ended up back in the hospital. After going through weeks of being unable to digest food and very nearly dying, if they had to do intravenous feeding again they didn’t want to have to do that surgical procedure twice. You can’t put that stuff in a regular IV.

I had been warned I was absolutely not to get it wet at risk of transmitting infection to where you’d least want to.

And I desperately wanted clean hair again.

Marnie and her daughters had not only come by but had brought a swivel chair with them to make sure I’d be comfortable, got me leaned back over the kitchen sink and washed my hair for me.

Yeah, she said today, but that was a long time ago and it really wasn’t… I mean…

I told her that when I ended up back in the hospital with the next flare six years later, they told me, Oh, we don’t do that anymore. Too many complications. Too many people ended up with infections.

Because, (as I looked her in the eye), they washed their own hair. I have been so intensely grateful all these years.

She had earned so much more than jewelry. And it is: it was hours put in for her sake by someone who doesn’t even know her but wanted to do that for her, just to claim a corner of love in the world while surrounded by war, the gift of knowing that she was making someone happy out there by what she could offer of her skills.

After Marnie left I sat down and wrote a note to Oleksandra, saying, And my friend teaches Ukrainian refugees. They will see it and they will know they are in a place that is safe.

I pray Ukraine will soon be so as well.

Thank you thank you thank you.

1 Comment so far
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How perfectly serendipitous!

Comment by ccr in MA 02.09.23 @ 11:21 am

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