Friday, October 29, 2010


Eagles "Lyin' Eyes playing on the radio, softening my heart, as I called Lynda, to hear that "Kathy, we lost him. Bobby died Wednesday morning in his sleep. It was very peaceful, it really was. He had the most blissful look on his face."

Well, Bobby lived a life of bliss. Courageous, loving, funny, always curious, living to listen, to learn, keeping his notes on life. That beautiful smile, the twinkle in his eyes will linger forever in my heart. To the last minute, thinking so much of his lovely wife and family as he moved to the next chapter in his own life. I miss that I didn't get to see him tomorrow, wrapping up a basket of 'special' brownies that he was so looking forward to nibbling.

Tahoe in June was to be our last visit. Those few days were such a blessing. Lynda, Bobby, Michael, Mr. P. and me, talking, reading, living in the silence, in the beauty of a wonderful world, oh, and eating at the Chinese restaurant. A short interlude that put the icing on the cake of our lifetime of memories. So many years, so many, many years. I miss him so.

Bobby knew the art of living and dying. Such a good man. Thank you, Bobby. Thank you for being here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rainy Leaves

Walking home, I couldn't get her out of my mind. I'd never even seen her. But I know her. We all know her. Close to retirement, her son killed in a car wreck two years ago. Fifty four years old, raising her grand-daughter because her daughter is unable to do so.

All I see now is her broken body, laying in the rain, bleeding and soiled, the breath taken from her by one mentally ill patient with a long history of violence and assault.

Outside, cold and rainy, first rainfall of the season. Still daylight. The Officer didn't have a hard time finding her. Dead and soiled, bleeding and wet.

More police officers joined in. Administrators. Crying staff, shocked patients.

Begging for more security, more safety on the units. For the vulnerable patients, the really sick ones who are dependent on us for everything from their food to the bed they sleep in. Safety for the workers. Patients and workers who are assaulted on a DAILY basis at this place of healing. The place we come to serve, to work an honest day for an honest day's pay.

We grieve with our glass of wine, our quiet conversation, our shock and dismay. We pick up our quiet resolve and walk in circles. We mourn for Donna. For ourselves. For a system, made up of people, real human beings. A system failed.

Raindrops, a steady chorus from the sky, flatten the leaves that fell from that giant oak. Wet, brown, orange, yellow, scattered across the lawn and over the asphalt. Leaves of rain. Tears of pain.