This time yesterday, I was contemplating a tomorrow full of appointments, to-do's and various commitments. I take my calendar and to-do list very seriously. Although I rarely finish all that I have planned for a single day, completion and fulfillment are always my avowed and sincere goals. And yet, a full twenty-four hours have passed, and I've honored nothing I had planned for today. In fact, I can't even recall, in this moment, what any of it was.
It's interesting how quickly, in a flash, the calendar is cleared and the to-do list lies crumpled in the waste can. What seems so critical in one moment cannot even be called to mind in the next. That's how it is when Heart trumps Mind. Mind likes to think that it sets the the priorities. It does the "thinking," after all. And on most days, I let it believe that's true. Then something jump starts Heart, and it pole vaults over the top of anything that Mind had planned, with yards ~ miles ~ to spare.
Two days ago, my heart-sister called and left a message to let me know that her beloved husband, father of my goddaughter, was in the hospital. She said he was having problems with his pancreas and kidneys, and she asked, would we take Alex for a night this weekend? I called and assured her that we would. I checked in with her this morning, and she revealed that her beloved had had a heart attack last night. His prognosis was poor.
The appointments and the to-do's vanished from my consciousness. I rushed to be by her side. I took angel cards, a book, some card games, a journal, my ipad and chocolate. I have sat in many a hospital waiting room over the past ten years. I know how to pack.
The angel cards were a big hit, even with family members I didn't know. Even among people in the waiting room who weren't family. Not in the biological sense, anyway. One woman, after reading her card, leaned forward and stared at me hard. She finally asked, "Who are you here with?" Caught off guard, I mutely pointed at Cynthia. The woman sat back in her seat and said, "well, you are an angel. Do you know that?" Perhaps she imagined, my wings were tucked in, that I simply sat here, day after day, consoling family members. It would be a great gig, now that I think about it.
When I first decided to go to the hospital today, I questioned whether it was appropriate. I dearly wanted to sit with and comfort my heart-sister. At the same time, I know she has a lot of family in the area, and I didn't want to be in the way. She assured me that I would not be. She chided me when I got there, "don't you know by now that you ARE family?" After my conversations in the waiting room today, I realize that my definition of 'family' has been far too narrow. We are all family. What's unfortunate is that it sometimes takes a tragedy to remind us that it is so.