Saturday, November 19, 2016

Part 1: Devastation. Part 2: Doris.

Iris, me and Doris Rigg
Me with my Great Aunt Iris (left) on her 100th birthday (1/1/2016) and her best friend Doris (right).

I've been feeling devastated since the election results, just like how I felt when my mother died.   I try not to use catastrophic language, but it is how I feel.  It was shocking and surprising, even though looking back, for both events, the signs were there all along.  During the year, I was feeling anxiety that he might win, especially after Brexit.  I started donating to Clinton's campaign, the first time I ever directly contributed financially to a political campaign.  Ultimately I was comforting myself with the NY Times Election forecast, which put Clinton's chances of winning at 65% at the lowest point during the summer and at 84% on election day.  The NYT forecast also included forecasts from other entities, and they all predicted a Clinton win.  My dad said that she was going to win and when is my dad ever wrong???

She lost the electoral college.

It's like I'm feeling all the stages of grief all at once.  I went to work, but I didn't shower for 3 days.  Suddenly I felt this power inside me, my 18 year-old feminist self, who chose to attend a women's college, crying and screaming at once, totally outraged at our choice of president-elect.  I suppose as much as his supporters feared Clinton, I am fearing the next administration with a Republican controlled house and senate, 2-3 possible Supreme Court appointments, and a person at the helm who has never held public office before and who encourages his supporters to engage in discrimination and violence.

Out of this feeling of devastation, another feeling emerged: an urge to "do good things".   I want to write about one of those good things here.

My great-aunt Iris has been best friends with Doris for ~75 years.  They met when they were nurses in their 20's.  I know Doris from family parties.  While I visit Iris in assisted living from time to time, I had never visited Doris.  Last year I called Doris and she said I could visit at any time, but I never did.  Post-election, I decided now is the time to get out of my introverted hermit shell and do good things.  Last Sunday, I saw Iris in the morning, saw my uncle (who I had not seen since 1999, and was visiting from TN), put flowers on mom's grave,  and then surprised Doris with flowers and a visit in the afternoon.  She is in a different assisted living facility not far from Iris.  

Doris was SO excited and SO happy to see me.  She was SO talkative too!  She had a lot she wanted to tell me.  She celebrated her 99th birthday in early October, and said she was so pleased I was there, so that I could see a card that someone had sent her--it was so creative and she felt that out of everyone she knew, I would appreciate the creativity of the card the most.  She talked to me about other people who had visited her, including one who "used the device that tells you to turn left at the blinker light" (Wouldn't it be fun if Google Maps actually used such terminology?!) 

I brought with me some of the things I had sewn, including the denim jean jacket, the bag from the PR contest and my aqua leather tote, to show her.  She loved the bags and wanted to know if chintz fabric still exists.

The newspaper with a headline about our president-elect was next to her the entire time, but we did not talk about the election.  We did talk about being and staying positive.  I told her I loved all the things she wrote to me on cards over the years, like "Do what makes you happy", "Keep on keeping on", and "You're a gem!".  That last sentiment I frequently used when writing back to her, and when I write to other special people in my life.  She said that staying positive is the only way to live.  I agree and later I was thinking,  I want to do positive things in my community, and donate to causes that will be impacted by the new administration.  I can't change the administration, but I can do positive things for those around me and within my community.

She stood up to hug me goodbye.  She said she hated to shoo me out, but that she had some things she needed to do before supper.  

On Monday, I went to NYC to spend the day with my friend James and to have dinner with James and Tomasa.  That night, on the bus ride home, my Dad texted me.  Doris died that day (Monday).  

Rest in peace, Doris.  You're a gem.

Be well and be kind and be gentle to yourselves and each other.  


27 comments:

  1. So great you got that visit with Doris; seems she loved you very much!

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  2. Oh thanks so much for this post, Kyle. I, too, have come to the conclusion that my best response to recent events is to be, and support, what I want for the world.

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  3. Hi, Kyle, I'm sorry for your loss. I'm glad that you were met with Doris before she passed away. It sounds like she had a great attitude. And yes, I'm also dealing with election hangover/depression (I've never been this disturbed after an election). I'm trying to act locally, thinks globally. I will also keep Doris's advice in mind.

    Rose in SV

    Rose

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  4. So sorry for your loss. You did a very good thing. Doris sounds like a sweet lady. You're a gem too.

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  5. It was so sweet of you to visit people who have not seen you in a while. Doris had a pleasant memory at the end of her life. I agree with the previous comment: you are a gem.

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  6. I never cry but even before I got Doris' passing, I was tearing up.

    You are a gem! And I am so glad that you listened to that urging inside. What an amazing day that will stick with you forever.

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  7. How lovely that you followed your instinct and visited with Doris, and shared so many creative things with her -- love her attitude, and the phrases she wrote to you, all of them. Thank you for sharing; even as a non-American I feel as you do about this election, and your focus on doing good is such a solid and inspiring one.

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  8. I'm so glad you got out of your hermity shell. We have to stay positive and we have to spread goodness. We will overcome. You're a gem!

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  9. Hi Sweetie. I have watched you grow and blossom. You are not only a gem but a ray of sunshine that brightens my day when I visit your page. I sure Doris is smiling at you now saying "Keep on keeping on." Hugs

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  10. I'm so glad you followed your instincts and saw Doris. I had urgings when I was only about 22 to go and see an old lady friend who was like a grandmother to us and like a mother to my mum when we had no relatives here and my mum was here from Cyprus with none of her family. I thought about going to see her in hospital and then thought, I'll go when she gets home and I would have, but she didn't make it home. It still upsets me I didn't go. You did and will do good things. I feel for the Americans shocked by the results... shock here too and hopefully a kick up the && for our people and politicians. The good thing here is, voting is compulsory and even if some post donkey votes, it isn't that many.

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  11. Oh Kyle. I'm so glad you saw Doris and had a great chat with her while you could. She really sounded like a gem.

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  12. Oh my, what a story - I'm so glad you had a lovely visit with Doris before she passed. There's a lesson there for all of us- you never know what tomorrow may bring. And we here in Australia are just as shocked at the election outcome too...

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  13. Hi, Kyle, a fellow Mawrtyr here who feels exactly the same way about the election as you do. Last night I went to a birthday party that began in such a somber mood, as most of us hadn't seen each other since the election and had to talk about the grim developments. (After a couple of rounds of cocktails, we were able to have a more festive time, although the topic still kept coming up...everyone in my social circle is so upset.)

    I hadn't been able to think of a good birthday present for my friend, so I decided to make small donations to 3 organizations in honor of her. It doesn't feel like much, but I think I'll use this idea for other friends' birthdays, when it seems like the person will appreciate it...

    That is so nice that you got to see Doris!

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  14. great post and how great that you both had happiness as result of your visit with her. Hang in there :)

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  15. Biggest hugs to you!!! I'm so glad you followed your instincts and spend that day with Doris. What a treasure!

    May Doris rest in peace.

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  16. and yes, that's a good reminer for me to look at things differntly - to focus on the positive side - do something about what we have control over than get depressed about what we don't have control over.

    Reminds me of the article on Stephen conveys's circle of control vs circle of concern that mrmoneymustache wrote about in his blog.

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  17. Hang in there Kyle! You have connected with like-minded people all over the world who are sharing the same feelings as you. Thanks for reminding us to stay positive and reach out to others with kindness. "Don't ever let anyone dull your sparkle"!

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  18. It's a good thing you followed your gut and visited her when you did. You brought her happiness on the last days of her life. She is now in a special peaceful place where I am sure she is smiling at you right now.

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  19. Such a lovely heartwarming story Kyle. Believe me, here in the UK we feel your pain too!

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  20. I have been so disturbed by the Trump fiasco that it has been impairing my sleep. Today, I went to a tea party for my pilates instructor's parents, who are visiting from England. A lady I didn't know said "how are you" as you do, you know, at this sort of affair where people don't really know each other. I told her about my distress/insomnia. She asked me if I trusted Hillary, I told her the one about the flight attendant offering a choice between chicken and shit with broken glass, and the passenger asks "How is the chicken prepared?" She was sincerely pro Trump, so we discussed our differing views for a while including our disagreement over the use of torture and capitol punishment. We talked and talked, and had a glass of wine to help us relax. We ended up talking about a lot of other things, we talked for three hours! We didn't change each other's opinions but we discovered that we really liked each other anyway. I drove her home, she invited me in but I had to go somewhere else so we exchanged phone numbers and email addresses and promised to get together soon. We are officially friends 😊. This somehow gives me hope.

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  21. Kyle -you are such a gem !! Good for you for making efforts to make others smile & you did make Doris smile !

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  22. Ahhhh Kyle, you listened to your intuition and it definitely set you in a direction of healing. Every warrior needs to eat and sleep and love, then go fight dragons again. We must all be brave, like Doris.

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  23. This is beautiful. As are you.

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  24. Thank you so much for expressing so beautifully, what so many of us are feeling, and the way forward.

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  25. What a beautiful post. You are a "gem" for finally going to visit her. I hope I can be as positive about life in my old age as she seems.

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