22 August 2013


i just left the hospital. a quick visit to see a person who is dying from cancer. 

the two youngest boys and i baked a few dozen cookies for her husband and son. the two who are keeping vigil by her side as she suffers greatly. they are in nashville seeking a second opinion. the prognosis isn't good. but there we were. today. just the three of us jaunting up to her room to bring a tiny-as in teeny-bit of sweetness into an otherwise dim situation. and walking into her room with the smell of dank hospital and bleak hopefulness i felt overwhelmed. 

her precious husband wearing a black wind breaker to ward off the hospital chill walked over to greet us. i could tell that was one of the few times he had left the literal bedside of his wife's care. with a wet cloth in hand from caressing her cheek. the boys noticed the lip balm. i explained that sometimes our lips chap when we're sick. she forced a smile, but couldn't open her eyes. her headscarf prompted me not to stare. she was writhing in pain. the nurse was steady by her side administering something. i just glanced and spoke fast. tripping over my words. i used the past tense and it made me so flustered. 

"mrs. ford? hi, my name is tracy utley. i am a friend of .....andrew cross. he asked me to.....bring you cookies." it was all so confusing. even to me. her husband shook my hand and asked if i was from kentucky, the state from where our mutual friend hails. "no, sir. i live here. in tennessee. um. nashville. andrew was, is, i mean was a student of your wife's. he thought, thinks so much of her, he asked us to bring up a little....cheer." mr. ford smiled knowingly. and set me at ease as he asked about my companions. "o, these are two of my boys, harry and george." he patted them on the head and told me how sweet the cookie gesture was/is. i politely thanked him and walked out of the room. relieved. 

as we walked back through the intense heated august afternoon into the cool of the parking garage, i thought. "for so long i have felt a little like i should be doing more with my life. to have something to show. revenue to contribute. interests beyond the four walls of our little cottage in the hood. things that have nothing to do with being a mom or a wife." recently i spoke with the Mister about going back to school-once the boys are older. just a thought. 

but today i was reminded that i do have a life that is separate from my boys and my life as a wife and mother. it takes me outside the four walls of my safe dwelling and into the lives of strangers, some of whom are very sick-in hopes of cheering them if for but a moment with a little sweetness. it's a life that has time at the end of the day to sit on the porch with young women as they ponder life. it's a life that has time to write and stretch out on a yoga mat. it's a life that is far from fancy, far from intellectual. but so full of curiosity.

a spare drop of time to pack a few boxes for a friend who is moving. to brainstorm homeschooling with a mother who is curious. a morsel of time to drop in on my neighbor who is aging-rapidly. 

people. that is what i love to do. be with people. sick, well, curious, sad, hurting, happy and even dying. 

i don't have degrees in baking, or in counseling or even in the hospitality industry. but when a friend who lives several hundred miles away is in need of a little baking venture, i am up for the task. and that is a pretty big deal of a delight. 

i am not starting a business as hospice concierge. i am just available for that spontaneous drop in on a stranger visit armed with a basket of cookies and a brood of boys. and i have to say, i am grateful.

simply grateful to be available. that's me. not rushed. not too busy. just available. usually.



Catherine said...

Man, I love you so much.

Catherine said...

Man, I love you.

Catherine said...

Man, I love you.