i’ll try to make room for you

August 11, 2009

There was a moment at Susan’s funeral Monday that pretty much summed up the gap between those who know what charity means and those of us who pay lip service. I’ve always said that true charity was a strictly Godly attribute, and that all human action is motivated by self-interest. (I know, this is one of the definitions of cynicism, but really, I’ve always seen that as a good thing–cynicism, at least defined that way, gets a bad rap. Think of it as Adam Smith’s invisible hand at work governing social interaction–it’s a good thing. Or at least I used to think so.)

Susan has convinced me that some people are just plain good. Susan carried the fire. Susan makes me want to be a better person.

Susan was confined to a hospital bed in her living room for the last several months of her life. And Sue, Susan’s neighbor, visited and watched over Susan some of pretty much every day (and is certainly another reason for my reassessment of the human condition), and related that in the last days of Susan’s life, she (Sue) was sitting by Susan’s bed, rambling on, talking and keeping Susan company, even though she was pretty sure Susan was beyond hearing or understanding.

As part of the rambling, Sue casually mentioned how tired she was, and how nice it would be if she could just climb up into the bed with Susan and they could cuddle and rest and just “be.”

And to her surprise, Susan fluttered open her eyes, painfully reached over to the bed guard (when the act of rolling over was fraught with danger of broken bones), struggling to open it, and weakly whispered “I’ll try to make room for you.”

Normal people don’t do that. But wouldn’t it be nice if they did?

15 Responses to “i’ll try to make room for you”

  1. mark Says:

    I thought I was done weeping, but here I am choking back tears once again. You suck. Or maybe the invisible hand just gouged me in the eye. Yeah, that’s it.

  2. bikemike Says:

    nail on the head, Dug. Susan sounded like one in a couple of million. i can honestly say i have, at times, great compassion for my fellow humans. however, execution of my humanity is sometimes sorely lacking.

    i want to do better. sometimes, i actually try, but ultimately frustration and lack of patience take over, and…well, it just kinda goes downhill from there.
    is it possible to embrace true love and have that feeling for everyone we meet?
    i mean, i know none of us are perfect, but boy, that’s a tall order.

    my best example is, here in florida, when the hurricanes come and we lose power for a week or two, everybody is helpful and friendly. man, when the power comes back on and things kinda get back to normal, crap, normal just gets back to ugly.

    i guess my point is, maybe, surely, Susan was one in a couple of million and we can all hope to have learned from her special gift. i guess we have to keep trying.

  3. andy Says:

    i can only hope that someone has an anecdote like that about me someday.

  4. gbrown Says:

    Nice. That little exchange really got to me too. Not to be a baby but one of the last hurdles to me coming out to Leadville is the fact I can’t sleep laying down. Dr. confirmed it today… two broken ribs. Good news is that when I’m not laying down it only hurts when I breathe.

  5. Eber Says:

    when I told the Wife about that part of the funeral she couldn’t hold back the tears either. truly good people have that effect on people – even when it’s heard second hand.

  6. Sam Says:

    It certainly gives me hope to realise that there ARE people like that in the world; and gives me inspiration to be more like that.

  7. Bandit Says:

    Great story. I hope its ok if I pass it along to others.

  8. Jennebelle Says:

    That is an amazing story! Makes me wish there were more people like that in the world.

  9. I think we could all aspire to BE that kind of person. Let’s just do one, totally unexpected, incredibly kind thing for someone today. And see how many days in a row we can do it.

  10. Wonderful story Dug. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  11. Adventure Nell Says:

    thanks dug…that is a lovely story and i will strive to be like Susan…she was a truly kind and loving woman.

  12. Thanks for sharing. I got something in my eyes now to!

  13. […] has kept her in my mind far more than I would have thought. Dug, a friend of the Nelson’s wrote this a couple of days back. (I’ll wait. OK, get a tissue. Good? […]

  14. jeanne Says:

    Thanks for sharing this — touching and profound.

  15. stevenbpt Says:

    Dad was like that. That invisible hand got me too.

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