Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Lifetime of Inches

That's a picture of Cindy and Bill Simon, parents of Jonathan and Ben, for whom I was a nanny from 1987-1995. That being said, I never felt like an employee, as they almost immediately made me an honorary member of their family. There is much I could say about them as a family unit and all that they taught me about unconditional love. There is so much that I can't articulate it; can't find words to make it flow. So, I'll just leave it at this: they were profound in my life, and still are.

Cindy became a dear friend to me. She was so easy to talk to and had such good insight. Her calm, patient manner was an anchoring influence on my chaotic emotional existence. I wrote the following after a conversation with her in Novermber 1988, not long after that picture was taken. I'd been out walking (oh, that delicious metallic taste of irony), and my spirit was still decidedly rumpled when I returned home.
Conversation Upon Returning Home

there must be a rainbow
out there
you said
as the gods began to weep
(really, it did happen
that way)
I mused (amused),
what a fine metaphor
you just used
to respond
to my unspoken thoughts

if you look to the South,
I said,
you can see this brilliant

speck of blue
just beyond the clouds...

I guess you just have to
be standing
in the right place,
you said

without a clue, you did it again

The above picture is one that I can't look at without tears. When it was taken, none of us had a clue that Cindy only had five years left to live. Looking at that picture, who would think such a thing ? She's healthy and happy; her smile could light up a room. And yet. A year and a half after that picture was taken, Cindy was diagnosed with breast cancer. A little more than five years after that picture was taken, the flame sputtered and the smile that lit the room was no more.

Cindy died from breast cancer on December 7, 1993. It's a weight that has never left my heart. While I'm walking in honor of several people, it's Cindy that is the impetus. She is the cornerstone to my resolution. A couple of months ago I talked to Jonathan on the phone (who was 13 when Cindy died and is now nearly 28). During the course of our conversation he said, "I wish I could sit and talk to her as an adult. She was always one of my best friends. Of course, she'd probably give me shit for dating shiksas...." And I had to smile as I wiped away tears. Jonathan is so much his mother's son; so like her in many ways.

For you, Cindy... 60 miles ain't nothing in a lifetime of inches.

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