Thursday, March 14, 2024


            It was a rough week for news. I learned that Tony, a college friend, had fallen down some stairs and injured his pelvis, ribs and head. He’ll be in rehab for six weeks or so. And I also learned that Jay, one of the most talented people I have ever known (teaching, music, athletics, coaching, writing), has died. And Gordy, a colleague I love, is fading with dementia and overall weakness. And Bill, a few years older than me, is now in caretaking mode with his wife’s moderate dementia and a broken hip. And Fleda, a poet friend in Traverse City, is recovering from back surgery designed to relieve her chronic pain. And I stumbled across the obituary for Ernie, a teaching colleague who is two weeks older than me. And Kim continues to battle her pain and fatigue, struggling, at times, to get up out of a chair (to fix my dinner or do the laundry).


            That’s a lot of “ands . . ..”


            What do I do with this news? People are dropping, and not just in Gaza and Ukraine – they are dropping around me! And these are just the ones I know about.


            Kim and I don’t get out much, partly because of the weather, partly because most of our friends live far away. But we have some new friends, and we plan on reinforcing these connections – as health allows. Kim and I talked about this briefly, and she encouraged me to phone my friends – you know, actually make contact using my human voice. As I have written before, for some reason I am not fond of calling people on the telephone – I prefer the control, or maybe the distance, I have when writing. I know that many people prefer texting or, if you are old, email, probably because it gives us control over when and how to respond. Yes, there are digital advantages and conveniences, especially when confirming appointments, but there is nothing like the human voice to make a living human connection. So, I called Tony, and I called Jim and Angie to find out more about Gordy. And, of course, I called Peter – wonderful hearing his voice, his laugh. Felt good – even life-affirming. I even called my son.


            My son works at a call center, and he described how some people, usually older people, would call in just to have someone to talk with. I try to establish a human connection when speaking on the phone with Support folks. I keep it brief, as they are sometimes evaluated on how efficiently they deal with calls, but the connection is something good. No, it does not stave off Death, but it’s something in the Life column.


            No, a human voice may not be much as a response to Death and Disability, but in addition to human touch, it’s about all we have.      


1 comment:

  1. It's always good to hear a friend's voice, especially when you remember who the friend is. Thank you, Dave & Kim, for calling us. It's always special to hear your voice.