I have grown to appreciate the insight of Elaine at Kalilily Time: she seems so rarely to drop a beat or miss a thread in writing the human fabric. I rest when I read there, and I find a friend and mentor in a woman whom I've never met.
Elaine is overseeing her mother's journey into and through the challenges of Alzheimer’s and the wearing-thin of a body. Courageous women both, they model the determination, patience, and compassion necessary to negotiate such a passage. I am instructed and often encouraged in facing my own difficulties.
Today I was reading at Kalilily Time - reading about a single meteor/wishing star, a sisterhood of hummingbirds, and a one-in-a-million blueberry pie made with berries picked by a one-and-only grandson. I was drifting with the poetry of the words and didn't notice the next thought coming:
Sometimes, when you only have one, and he is sent off to be killed in a war without reason, without purpose, without WMD, you become so angry, so betrayed, so brave, that you dare to stand up, stand out, speak out, cry out. Shout. SHOUT! Praying all the while that your pain will break through the plague of public denial. And then it occurred to me - believe this - it occurred to me for the first time: Tommi is a one and only, the only daughter I have or ever will birth. She is irreplaceable and her loss would be insatiable. And I don't know how I would go on, but (with thoughts turned to Beckett) I would go on ... maybe I would go on. Elaine feels that way, too, sometimes, and she writes, "I can do this. I can do this." And maybe that would be all there would be left for me to do if I lost my one-and-only daughter (here I trust my sweet daughter-in-law, Jennifer, to read wisely).
And then ... and maybe it's just the day, but I didn't see it coming, Elaine turns the conversation in remembrance of Cindy Sheehan, offering as she does a rebuttal to the awful things that are being said about Cindy, things impugning her regard and respect for her son, her integrity as a mother, her decency.
There are other mothers joining Cindy, people coming from all over the country right now, and whatever can be said, whatever will be said, know this: Casey Sheehan was a one-and-only, and because of the military action in Iraq, he will never be again! He will never have the opportunity to be what he could have been (Doctorow). When, as a nation of citizens, we are willing to say, "It is worth it," are we really stopping to measure the value of each and every, single one-and-only that is being spent in this war? not just the American one-and-onlys but all of them? Would we still say "It's worth it"?
If you can answer “yes” to that – and I’m supposing some of you will, then tell me: Would you be willing to tell me it was “worth it” if the one and only one you were talking about was my one-and-only? Would you be willing to tell me it was worth it to spend Tommi?
(Thanks to Winston for the link to the Doctorow letter)
technorati tags: Tommi, CindySheehan, KalililyTime