I promised a second Thanksgiving column, but this was not quite what I had planned. This is better. Yesterday afternoon the following email came from one of my colleagues, an oncology social worker who works on the in-patient Oncology Unit
I am hoping someone can help me with a Thanksgiving Miracle. There is a 32 yo pt. who was hospitalized and diagnosed with metastatic cancer 3 weeks ago. Before that, she didn't even know that she was sick. Team feels life expectancy is very short (unclear if she will even leave the hospital). She has a 2 yo son, a boyfriend, her parents and a brother. Can anyone recommend a lawyer who may be willing to come in to assist with a Will.-- If they would be willing to do sliding scale that would also be helpful.
Thanks so much in advance for your suggestions and ideas!
I copied and sent that email to all the women on my multiple Listservs. Since some of you are on those lists, you know about them and received this request. Background for others: there are Listservs for each of my support groups and for women who used to be in groups and for women who are just interested in receiving articles about research or treatment or events related to breast cancer. All together, there must be 300 or so people on those lists. Within half an hour, I had heard from many of you who said you had forwarded the request to a Temple Listserv or a community Listserv or had called an attorney you knew or a friend who works at a law firm.
And here is the miracle: within an hour, at least ten lawyers had contacted my colleague directly and volunteered to come to the hospital yesterday afternoon and do this work for free. She was overwhelmed, and the patient and her family even more so--and, I think, just stunned by the kindness of strangers.
I had a somewhat different reaction. I was so grateful and pleased, of course, but not stunned. I knew, I just knew, that our community, our network would respond, and this would happen. You are all wonderful, and my personal Thanksgiving miracle is that I am so lucky to know you.
Keeping that perspective of grace and gratitude has been helpful today as I have been busy chopping and sauteing and roasting and basting and table setting and generally preparing for the feast. It never goes without a hitch, and the two (so far) today have been that the pie order was messed up (I gave up baking pies when I discovered the pies at a local farm stand that are a zillion times better than anything I could make), and we ended up without a pumpkin pie to accompany their delicious apple-mixed berry pie, and that I had to toss out the completed mashed potatoes ("Thanksgiving Potatoes" from the Silver Palate cookbook, a once a year gluttony of butter and sour cream and cream cheese) when I noticed, too late, that the cream cheese had "turned". Blessedly, I keep a pretty deep pantry and had the ingredients for a second round. Then, when I heard the disappointment in my daughter's voice about no pumpkin pie, I realized I had to make one. Remember, it has been at least a decade (see above) since I made a pie, but I regularly make pizza, so had the rolling pin, and the only questionable necessary ingredient was the pumpkin. The grocery store is closed, so no possibility of a quick run for a can of pumpkin. Then I remembered the three pumpkins on the door step, and roasted one. It seems to have worked, the filling tasted delicious before backing (probably way better than it would have with the can of pumpkin), and it surely was a work of love.
And a work of such gratitude. I am so blessed and so lucky and so grateful. Thank you all. And blessings to us and our families today and for the year ahead.