5/19/2012 DAY 40
I am a believer that it is not so very important at how long you live but what you do while you are here. I also believe that when a life is taken when the they are very young, like a baby or a child, that there must have been some form of agreement between the soul that inhabited that body and the universe that is in collusion with life, death, and the order of all things and matter. It might seem like I choose to believe this because it makes it easier for me to emotionally handle the death of a baby–it might even seem like a childish way of thinking.
Erma Bombeck was journalist who became a housewife and then continued her career from home by writing columns in newspapers about the funny side of suburb domesticity and raising a family in the 60s and 70s. In time she became a best-selling author of such books as, If Life Is A Bowl Of Cherries, What Am I Doing In The Pits? Erma is still one of my favorite writers and she’s been a big writing inspiration in my life so when I was waiting for a plane at O’Hare, in 1993, I picked up one of the latest books that she wrote and I expected to laugh all the way to my destination on a plane. That book was called, I Want to Grow Hair, I Want to Grow Up, I Want to Go to Boise. That was not the full title of the book and I didn’t notice the rest of the title until I read the first few chapters. By that time, I was soaring thousands of feet in the air on a crowded American Airlines flight to Los Angeles, and I was unabashedly crying between the few chuckles that escaped between my loud sobs. The rest of the title of the book was in parentheses and it said: (Children Surviving Cancer).
The story of how Erma Bombeck wrote about a book about children who were struggling with cancer and life-threatening illness came about when someone from the Mayo clinic begged her put her humorous and loving prose to the inspiring stories of children. Children who knew nothing about what life could be, only what life was to them, fighting a disease, dealing with pain, and doing it with more bravery and more humor and more childlike acceptance and innocence than anyone not in witness would ever expect.
I read that book and it changed me so much that somehow I think, because of it, I’ve attracted or been near children who’ve suffered, some of whom are no longer living. I’ve also experienced the pain, personally, of their passing or eventual surviving, but more because I was close to the parents. This is how I came to my theory that the souls of the ones who were taken so young must be much more close to the great creative process than we know. We’ve seen witness to that, however painful it was to see.
So, when I think about my lifetime of which, hopefully, I have many more years to live, I consider trying to imagine that I too must have made some kind of commitment with the universe; That I came here to do the best I can with what I’ve been given. I also pray that when my time comes, however quick or drawn out, I hope I can transition as much like a child as possible.
I Want to Grow Hair, I Want to Grow Up, I Want to Go to Boise (Children Surviving Cancer) by Erma Bombeck
Erma’s more humorous books. Get them!
Erma Bombeck passed away in April 22, 1996, at the age of 69 from complications of a kidney transplant. Hey Erma, you know I love you, but I just want to thank you again for making me laugh–and for taking your genre departure and writing, I Want To Grow Hair, I Want To Grow Hair, I Want To To To Boise.
This entry is so poignant to me because tonight, after work, I’m going to get-together in the building where I live and we are going to celebrate the life of a lovely man named, Jeremy, who committed suicide two weeks ago. Jeremy’s family shunned him years ago when he came out to them and I do not think that he ever got over that. I don’t think Jeremy’s life was lived with child-like acceptance but I do know he was fun to be with and he had a lovely personality with a gravitational pull. I hope his transition was not so bad for him and, wherever he is, that Jeremy is gifted with an existence of childhood acceptance and love.
Wow, only 10 more days till my 50th Birthday. I’m thankful. So very thankful.