Parent, Teacher, Activist
This week-end, a longtime colleague and friend of my husband’s, Sue Ann Gibson, passed away after a being diagnosed last year with a brain tumor. Today, as we remember Sue Ann, I’m reminded of the lines in Dr. Seuss’ book Oh, The Place You’ll Go that say:
I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Game you can’t win ’cause you’ll play against you. All Alone! Whether you like it or not, alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot. And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
Have you ever felt that way? Have you had a time in your life when you have to face something, rather it be illness or failure or loss or your own brokenness, that just leaves you standing there wondering how you’ll go on? I know I have. But the next lines are the ones that buoy me,
But on you will go, though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.
And then the kicker:
And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.) Kid you’ll move mountains!
Sue Ann was the kind of person who poured love and kindness out on those around her. As an advisor to foreign students attending our university, Sue Ann gently and consistently provided those students who were far from home with love and emotional support. At a time when they were vulnerable and often times probably felt loss, she was there, a stable, calm guide.
My heart is heavy as my family and community have lost the second of two amazing women this year. The first was our beautiful friend Beverly, who fought breast cancer with a gentle force and quiet determination that I cannot begin to grasp. The loss of these amazing women has reminded me (to paraphrase Mae West) that I’ve only got one life, but if I live it right, once is enough.
No, I will not remain silent and let injustice be. I will not live and let live when it comes to money grabbing corporations who sell our children’s childhood for a profit, seeking to exploit their vulnerability. I will not do it. Because this is the life that I’ve got, and when my time comes to leave this world, I want to know that what I did here made a difference. I want to know that, like Sue Ann and Beverly, I touched lives and made them better because I was in them.
I want to move mountains, and I want that for you. Today is your day, get out there and live it to the fullest.