Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pondering Mortality

August 17, 2009
The ambulance comes to our shelter every other day or so (it is a small shelter 75 women all ages). Attendants (sometimes 2 sometimes 4) ask questions, load the person onto a gurney wheel them outside, load them into the vehicle and drive them to the hospital. Often to return several hours later with a wrist band on and a prescription in their pocket.
When I was walking downtown yesterday morning, I saw an ambulance pull up to one of those big office towers. Attendants went into the building. I'm sure they asked questions, loaded the person onto a gurney wheel them outside, loaded them into the vehicle and drove them to the hospital. He or she will be in the hospital for a day or two, then return home with a wrist band on and a prescription in their pocket.
I was struck by the realization that, each of these people has a equal opportunity of being DOA (dead on arrival). Whether a tramp or a Trump we all end up dead.
This musing does not concern our after-life, it is about life after we are gone. It is about legacies and the value of one person to an entire future. The homeless are often given little value and sadly we often give little value to ourselves. Donald Trump has impacted thousands, some good, some bad. He has built monuments to himself which will stand after his death, until they are sold and renamed or meet a wrecking ball to build someone else's new great monument.
Alice died of pneumonia a couple of years ago, no family that I ever knew of. No newspaper headlines heralded her passing. No buildings carry her name into the next generation. To the casual viewer it would seem she was anonymous, but knowing Alice taught me about schizophrenics. A skill that helps me recognize and assess the potential of interacting with some of my new friends from the street culture. A skill which helps keep me safe out here. I am grateful to Alice for her legacy.
No monument I can build is a greater legacy then the children I have raised, who will raise their children, to be the same wonderful caring people that they are. No newspaper headline heralding my passing, can replace the tribute of a warm memory, of a moment shared whether on the street or with family and old friends. The Buddhists say "When you drop a small pebble into a mighty river, the coarse of that river is changed for ever." I suppose it is my legacy to be a pebble. What is your legacy?

P.S. We (which is me) doubled our sales in the park today, sold 2 dream catchers LOL. If sales doubled everyday we might just make our deadline...don't really see that happening though.

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