precious notes from friends

I'm writing from Italy, today the sky was crystalline blue, the sun was warm, autumn leaves astonishing. I can’t do anything to avoid your suffering but I'm sharing today's sky with you.

—Near Milano, Italy

This feeling of paralysis comes over me every time I read your blog. I first came across it after my sister met you somewhere. I'd been curious about Calvin for a long time; I often look in on your husband's photo blog and had seen the photos taken at some big city medical facility and then I got to see Calvin in real life at his school.

Reading it overwhelms me and grinds my thoughts to a halt. The only thing that penetrates my stupor is a sort of vague feeling that I need to be less impatient with my own kids, or that I'm not doing something right with them ... or wasting my opportunity with them. It's very unsettling. I make it worse by reading several posts in a row.

I mean this as a reflection on me, not as a criticism of your writing.

I recall watching Calvin's bus driver kiss him on the top of the head after she'd turned him over to one of the school aids at drop-off time. It made me feel good that that particular woman had the job.

—Brunswick, ME

I've become increasingly amazed by whatever it is that goes on between a mom and her child—an instinct, a bond.  I was totally unaware of it when I was a kid.  As a matter of fact,  in recent years whenever I talk to my mom (now 95) I begin by apologizing for all the crap I pulled as a kid.  I didn't really start to notice until my son got sick and I saw it in my wife.

—Santa Monica, CA

Living every day as if it were your last or the last day of someone you love is a completely exhausting way to move through the world. And yet it is, it seems, the only way.

—Santa Fe, NM

The condition of imagining the place and perspective of the one who is seemingly just beyond the place of ordinary understanding... just beyond the reach of my love and spiritual communion, the one who knows that she loves me but hasn't the foggiest clue who I am... is perhaps the greatest of all existential challenges. Spinoza and Camus have nothing to offer us here by way of wisdom. I have less than nothing to offer by way of wisdom... nothing that I would offer as advice but to tell you that the soul of the one afflicted is never afflicted. The thing that is true about any of us is true of all of us. From the most gifted to the most challenged: we are here...

—New York, NY

And there is a kind of arrogance, a very particular kind, that comes with the possession of good health...a superstitious arrogance...that regular types can only see and appreciate when they exit, for a spell, that lucky realm.

—Roswell, NM

Christy, Christy, Christy, I wish I could put my arms around you and give you a big long hug.

—Sammamish, WA


I realized that some children are born sick and some die - there's no way around it, it's part of life. Even more than healthy kids, sick kids need very special caring and love—and why shouldn't we be parents of one of them?? Why should we be exempt? Why should another family have to bear the burden and not mine?

—Darien, CT

Happy New Year back to you....
from an errant friend....
from one caught in the web of limited time....
from one who selfishly gives to his kids & family....
who then gives to those intertwined therein in an expanding circle...
who takes his time when he can, too oft on the edges, which are becoming too thin....

but a glimpse of wonder,
a moment of peace,
the taste of calm,
too passing & transient to hold--
but lasting & strengthening for those edges
which I hope will hold,
for my family's sake,
or my friends.

You pass my mind more oft than my fingers linger here,
and with the passing, a smile & a blessing sent....
for you, and Calvin, and the family you hold dear.

—Silverdale, WA

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