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recently i caught up with an old woman i’d had a great time with on a boat cruise a few years ago and she shared with me some recent tragedies that have surrounded her since covid’s been announced. 

she’d quarantined herself over the last six months because her neighbors have been committing suicide. i think the sentence bears repeating, because when she first told me I didn’t believe her, so later looked up autopsy records through the coroner to corroborate her story as awful as that might sound. unfortunately she wasn’t lying.  she was still living in an apartment complex where several aging and unrelated neighbors killed themselves over a period of three months. four to be exact. all on separate days.

and just yesterday on a call with a group of folks, suicide again became the topic of discussion because someone we all knew had made the decision to go, and even though we’d all taken steps to get them the help and support they so needed, it wasn’t enough.

and my neighbor, the one I’ve tried to help now talks of wanting to go.

but I’m cool spinning my skirt along these these external fires.
too cool. so cool that if i walk on top of snow it will turn me into a flurry of unrecognizable footprints.

not really.

i still feel everything. the only thing that’s changed is that i don’t let everything feel me.

that old woman has a story to tell that upon hearing might save the lives of someone else in contemplation.

that group of folks has a mission – we all do and all that we see and become is part of the mission, with power to inspire the living.

my neighbor.  she doesn’t really want the help she says she does.  in her seventies she doesn’t feel validated by the living alone, or the living alone.  but we can’t validate someone’s value through the act of breathing – that’s meant to be a solitary thing.  she’s looking for that love we all long for, the kind that comes without feeling a sense of needing to earn it.

no one needs to do anything really, but if we feel compelled to do something then i bet all we gotta do is love. cause if that’s all we do, then we own the fires, not just the out skirts.

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