Waldlaw Blog

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

We Need to be Looking Out for One Another

It's been 10 days since I last posted, and there certainly are things to talk about, but I've been distracted by a wave of ... what's a polite way to say it ... unfortunate occurrences around me, and I've been finding it hard to write. It seems like ever since Katrina hit, things have just gotten uglier and uglier out there. On the "macro" scale, we've had Hurricane Rita adding insult to injury. The earthquake in Pakistan. The 2000th U.S. casualty in this endless, pointless Iraq war -- and I can't even imagine how many Iraqi casualties along the way. On the "medium" scale, the local headlines last week alternated between the brutal murder of the wife of a prominent Bay Area criminal defense attorney -- someone I used to regularly see in court during my public defender days -- and the subsequent arrest of a 16 year old boy who everyone agreed was a good kid until he was traumatized by his sister's death in a car crash and his dad's divorce from his step-mom; and a story about a young mother throwing her 3 young children (4, 2 and a baby) off the end of one of the San Francisco piers, where they all drowned in the murky, cold water before anyone could do anything. And on the "micro" scale, a very dear friend who was diagnosed 4 years ago with inflammatory breast cancer (and women, if you don't know about inflammatory breast cancer it's time to find out -- it's the most aggressive form of breast cancer and has a whole different way of presenting itself than other, more common types of breast cancer -- see http://imaginis.com/breasthealth/inflammatory.asp for details) is having a recurrence of her cancer, this time in her lung, and is currently in the hospital; and a sweet and gentle 9-year-old on my son's baseball team ran into the corner of a ping pong table at school and ruptured his duodenum (the tube connecting the stomach to the small intestine) and had to have emergency surgery followed by a week in the hospital recovering and guarding against infection -- talk about an abrupt end to a child's baseball season! So back to where I started. With all this *stuff* raining down around me, both near and far, I have been trying to remind myself to stop and enjoy a beautiful view when I have the opportunity (which I do often in this lovely city in which I live); to take a moment to savor a particularly tasty bite of food; to cherish the happy moments with my partner and our own children who, thankfully, are thriving. And I also have been trying to remind myself to look out for those around me -- to take the time to say "good morning" and "how are you doing today" to friends and strangers as I pass them on the streets and in the halls -- to try to spread a little kindness, in an effort to counterbalance some of the malaise out there. A colleague sent me an e-mail last week about a work matter. At the end of her note, completely out of the blue, she wrote: "Are you doing okay? Most folks around here are in a bit of a personal muddle...must be the astrological alignments." I was touched by her concern, coming from absolutely nowhere as it was (she didn't know about my friend with cancer, or my partner's knee surgery, or the kid who ran into the ping pong table). And it made me realize -- since it's raining *stuff* out there right now, let's all try to take the time to look out for one another. Just knowing someone cares can make such a difference, when the going gets tough.


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