She was a young spirit with a wide variety of pleasant things to do with her life. A vast set of emotions were suddenly released when I heard of her passing. There were a lot of "if only I'd kept in touch" moments.
I couldn't help but, think, "Would my lack of correspondence over the last few months have mattered?" Did she know that I was unable to respond to her most recent letter to me because of the loss of my Internet communication services?
Probably not. I was still able to send "snail mail" but now it is of little significance.
She had her "800" telephone number which may have been taken away because of others abusing the "freebie" that her parents allowed her to have. I tried that number only the one time, speaking with her for only about two minutes. I spoke with her mother a moment before I spoke with this California girl who rode in little red cars with sporty style.
Her tone of voice was soft. At the time I called, she was starting respiratory therapy. In fact, I wrote about her in my column. Getting her parent's permission before the article went to press was my assurance that it met with their approval. After all , the difference in our ages was questionable.
Furthermore, she was even more disabled than I was. Yet she still made the attempts to consistently walk. She was the one to inspire me when I had my difficult moments. The inspiration we shared was of a more intellectual nature.
As I was from a farming family, she shared with me a list of healthy foods that would promote my overall well-being. The list was not extensive but significant. The information on the list needed something - I'd color code the list. Add or modify the food categories to show how these nutrient rich items might benefit the different internal organs of the human body. Most individuals have eyes, lungs, a digestive system, a heart, a brain, a liver, kidneys and a bladder. There are many more internal parts that I have failed to mention, but they each play a role in the process we know and refer to as "life." I am not a doctor but realize the importance of a nutritionally sound plan of eating.
There are also foods that prompt weight loss. These were included in this list. The time of day that foods are taken in is also of significance. Preparation of the food plays a role. Contaminated or spoiled food bears watchful eyes and taste buds.
Being a few years older, I took an interest in this other soul out of a need for showing compassion toward another disabled individual. I ask myself, "Have I done all there is to do regarding the fair and ethical treatment of another, whom I only knew briefly?" I could not be with her, in her last few days of life. Yet I did receive secondhand information, that she was told: "It's OK to die."
Well, it's not a good thing for her to leave when there is so much that needs to be changed in this war torn world. I'm at a loss for words, as tears well up. I can only grieve with her family, saying, "I'm sorry she's gone."
So many questions, so few answers, so little time.
Michael J. Henry is a Sheridan resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.