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“Oh no, I’m alone again,” I whispered, that fear of abandonment gripping me again. In the other room of my house, my daughter Leticia and her mother were cavorting and laughing in indiscernible Spanish. I didn’t want to interrupt them.

That feeling often grips me. It happened again when a church member rejected my invitation for coffee. She didn’t explain the reason except to say that it was about her and not me. That is what one says these days to let people down easily. It is like a hospital saying, “It’s not your fault that you can’t be a brain surgeon. We’ve just set our standards too high.” Whatever the reason, I wouldn’t get the job — and for good reason.

I was sitting in my car thinking of the coffee date gone cold when the Mariachis pulled up next to me. The truckload of Mexican musicians jumped out, instruments in hand. Moments later, scores of Mexican families appeared bearing candles and banners of Our Lady of Guadeloupe. They are the sacred symbols of the Virgin Mary whose apparition inspired a church on the outskirts of Mexico City.

I have seen it, thousands of worshipers, some walking on their knees, to the Basilica of Guadeloupe, their struggle for survival far more imposing than mine. They were suffering pain and disability while I was suffering a broken coffee date.

Sometimes I have to be reminded of the miracles that fall from the sky, giving me happiness beyond belief. Yet sometimes, I forget what I have while thinking what I don’t have.

That insight came back to me as I watched parishioners of Sacred Heart Parish walk from St. Bernard’s Church to theirs in Myrtletown. They sang and worshipped, a procession that clearly mystified bystanders. It would be so much easier to explain a trucker’s parade.

I took video of the march and put it on the evening news at KAEF. That was all the affirmation I needed — knowing that my storytelling has an ultimate purpose. It prepares me for the mysteries that await.

So, I was ready to feel alone again when I got the doctor’s call. He fears that I am a stroke candidate due to heart issues. He prescribed a new medicine, Elequis, a medication to prevent blood clots. Cost: $500 a month.

I will find a way to handle it, either through medical insurance or assistance through the drug manufacturer. The bottom line is not the cost of the drug, but the drug itself, medicine providing new opportunity to extend our lives and our work.

The news tempted me to go home and risk another evening of isolation or venture out to do what I do. So, I jumped in the news car and headed to McKinleyville, the friendly community with no official downtown. They are imagining ways to create one over time.

Across the street, another group was looking for ways to build a BMX bike racing track. That is the sport that inspires kids to safely ride bicycles through a challenging dirt track. I love those families because that is exactly what they are, inclusive and loving.

Back in our newsroom, my co-workers were discussing my job title. I don’t know what it is and I don’t care. I am just happy that I am there. I think they are still figuring me out as well — why an older guy is so enthusiastic about his job. Maybe one has to suffer loss to truly understand.

That is why I understood so much about the Kitchenaires, those seniors playing musical instruments built from kitchen utensils. They played their last concert last Sunday, a rollicking salute to 91-year-old Marie Giampaolo, the woman who conceived the idea 40 years ago.

I knew there would be a last song, just as there is in every other passage of life. Knowing the song is coming doesn’t make it any easier. It is my wish that the music keeps playing. But as much as anyone, I understand there is a finite end to everything.

But life presents beautiful encores. I should know that, my life and job as exciting as they ever were.  And every day I am reminded of the basic truth — I never had been alone, not for a minute.

Dave Silverbrand’s columns and other writings are available on his website, www.davespeople.com.


 

 

 

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