What do you say when 'Thank You' is not nearly enough?
I've been trying to write this post since the Wednesday after we returned from Tom's accident and Arizona, but I've had an immense amount of difficulty finding the words.
When I picked up the ringing phone on April 1st, I was surprised to hear a woman identify herself who I knew pretty much only in passing. It's a small community, and I knew which face matched the name, but that was about it. She explained that she was calling to ask our permission (!) to hold a benefit for two other community families . . . AND US! In each of these cases, the men are the breadwinners in the family, and they're all self-employed. And, in these economic times, 'self-employed' generally (and in these particular situations) translates into 'no health insurance'.
And now, one family has temporarily lost their wife, mother (of five), and prime care-giver of one autistic son due to a horrible infection following emergency surgery. Another family was slowed when the carpenter husband fell from the roof of a house, smashed through a deck railing, and then BOUNCED from the porch floor onto the frozen ground below. An ICU stay to resolve a possible brain injury (none, thankfully!) followed, accompanied by a broken rib and nearly ripped-off nose.
And then there's Tom. Besides the collapsed lung and badly broken clavicle, a recent set of exam reports detailed "several rib fractures involving at least the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th ribs and possibly involving the 7th rib." Those are a lot of broken bones.
(Someone who's never said 'boo' to me before greeted me at the grocery store tonight with, "So, Weslie, how do you feel about bikes these days?" I didn't even think she knew my name! So, the word must be out.)
But, I digress. The point is wondering HOW one properly expresses their hit-me-upside-the-head-with-a-2x4 gracious amazement to people and a community like this? I don't think it's possible. But, we'll have to try. And soon.
On Saturday evening, there'll be a potluck and silent auction followed by live music (they do a MEAN Johnny Cash) and a dance at our little town hall. (I've heard that the silent auction has drawn incredible donations from local artists. I suppose it kinda defeats the whole purpose if I bid on something, huh?)
This is the same town hall where I remember sweeping the wooden floors as a little girl while my mom finished up her stint as an election judge. The same town hall we returned to when my oldest girlfriend got married nearly three years ago. The same town hall whose kitchen still has no running water . . . and it's never slowed down an event. The same town hall that I've known for the past 36 years. The same town hall that makes people assume that I am "a local" even though I'm not (i.e. generations past buried in the cemeteries) . . . .
Generally speaking, I'm not a 'crier'. But, for about a week following that phone call, I could not stop. The floodgates had been opened. My only hope is that they're kept in check on Saturday.
If you're in the area, please come. Not to donate, but to see us. To visit. To try to not hug Tom too tightly. I think it will be a wonderful, spring-time "re-introduction into Society" for us!