The other day, while at the hospital, I noticed a sweet looking older lady, soft blond hair, bright eyes, moving about with purpose, and a deep sorrow in those eyes.She spoke to me as I sat in the Family Waiting Room with two of my dear Korean nieces.We ended up discussing books, this stranger and I.... "Hi, I'm Lisa." "I'm Frances", she said, softly, and politely...Seems she enjoys reading about Asian culture, and so I shared a few titles I thought she'd enjoy.Worried she'd forget the titles, I offered to jot them down. I handed her the list(among them, the Pulitzer-prize-winning author, Robert Olen Butler, who penned the vietnam-centric, "Good Scent From A Strange Mountain", a collection of short stories. And another author, and book I'll disclose in a moment)a business card, and explained that I was here in the hospital, because of my in-laws being injured in the horrific accident on Monday evening. She was there, she said, tears beginning in her eyes, because her (elderly) husband had suffered a seizure, and she hoped he would open his eyes soon, and be able to speak soon.
When she saw my name on my card, she gasped."I am your neighbor...we live in the same neighborhood; I recognize your name, Lisa."(I write updates on the film industry, and occasionally write articles on beauty and skin care,for our Neighborhood Newsletter).
"I'm Frances[last name]"
Quickly, I shouted,
"Yes, Frances and Irv [last name]"
"How did you know my husband's name?From his work on HOA board?"
"No, I'm not involved at all, in that...I have looked through our Neighborhood Directory, and my memory is very, very good..if I see something in print, Frances, I can recall it pretty easily.When you said your last name, I immediately saw in my mind, Irv and Frances [last name].
I explained how odd it felt,meeting after 6 years of living somewhere, your neighbor(they live two streets over, have lived there for 7 years).
We talked about our injured relatives; I confided I was worried about my Mother-in-law, about her needing help afterwards.(I secretly worried whether I am up to the task).....and then I told Frances about that book, the one I'd picked up for my in-laws, and for me, to read, just last week.The book, by a female Korean author, is her first which has been translated into English. The book I discovered, that my Mother-in-Law's best friend had coincidentally mentioned, as my Mother-in-Law,Omma K. spoke to her from our home, to hers(my Omma K.'s friend lives in Los Angeles), and her friend joked, "Tell your daughter-in-law I read this new book from my iPad, like the young people." She said she'd already read it in Korean, but wanted to experience it, in English. I learned of this through my Father-in-Law, who told me how I should "Go ahead and read it first, Lisa.Omma K. is too hurt, she won't be able to read it anytime soon."
It was then that I discovered why I had picked up the book, long before Monday's accident occurred.I understood some of what I'll be doing, with my Omma K., to help her heal....I'll be reading to her,and with her. And this book, the one I'd spotted last week, that I instinctively wanted, knowing nothing about it, or the author? It was the title which had intrigued me:
"Please Take Care of Mom."
There was a quick hug, intiated by Frances, when we realized we were neighbors.After sharing the story of my injured mother-in-law, and the story that I would now read the story to her, as she recovers, I hugged my new friend, Frances, again.
This is what connection is made of.This is Communion.
Oh, and her husband, Irv? He opened his eyes, and spoke to her, that same afternoon.