I volunteer at a local hospital once a week. I’ve been doing this since we moved to Miami Beach more than eight years ago. Normally I play with kids who have cancer. They play like any other kid, but usually they can’t get out of their beds because of all of the tubes and fluids going in and out. Usually I work with my friend Melissa. We think alike.

We bring our own toys because the teenage volunteers seemingly can’t take in the rules when the rules are explained to them. They leave pieces of the games behind. Sorry with two blue men and one yellow man; Chutes and Ladders with no spinner; Candyland without a board; Operation with three little white pieces instead of sixteen; Four in a Row with only a few of the of the segments that make the frame and perhaps half of the pieces. You see the pattern.

Melissa and I have a favorite donation. A wonderful group of ladies gets together and sews soft white pillows to donate. We bring permanent paint markers, which the children use to decorate the pillows for themselves or for their grandmothers or another loved one. The kids love this the best, of all that we can offer them. They make glorious things. They make creative pictures of which only a child can conceive. When they’re finished with their pillows, their parents will usually add the child’s name and a date. I once had a boy who spent almost three hours filling in the entire pillow with the red permanent paint pen. He wanted a red pillow.

This week Melissa and I went into the cancer ward, and there was a lady in a chair in the hall. She was rocking back and forth and back and forth at the edge of the chair. She was keening. Her wailing was like that of an infant who cries so hard she can’t catch her breath and fights for air in gulps. Her eyes were damp and open. She didn’t see who or what was near her. She could only see what was in her head. She saw and heard her child’s doctor saying the words that she could not bear to hear. She heard the words over and over and she rocked and she rocked and she keened and she was sightless.

In eight years I have seen many troubling things. But this image, and the sound of her keening and the futile, condemned look in her eyes will haunt me for the rest of my life.

94 Comments »

Comment by jonathan evison |Edit This
2009-07-24 13:28:06

. . . this is crushing, irene . . . god love you for the work you’re doing!

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-24 16:26:36

Jonathan,
The kids want t be treated as close to normal as possible. Mostly we just play with them and we have fun with them. Cancer is highly treatable now in children.

Comment by Jim Simpson |Edit This
2009-07-24 20:33:53

It takes a lot out of them, but you’re right, it can be treated and they can live long and prosper. Bless you for being there for them.

(Comments wont nest below this level)

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 06:53:24

Jim,
Treating cancer is a really tough row to hoe. It’s hard enough for an adult, but imagine a child having to go through all that it takes. There’s no question but that they suffer, but they are sturdy little kids and they are ordinarily surrounded by those who love them.
Being there is a blessing to me.

Comment by Melissa(Irene’s friend) |Edit This
2009-07-25 02:23:26

The thing that still haunts me is that, NO ONE… nurses, doctors, social workers were trying to help her. She was giving a chair, and left alone. Thank goodness they had called for help finally. I am still wondering how long she sat there. Her eyes, so wide, so red, from crying. Irene,we will go back and play like we always do. That is what we are there for. Love you.

Melissa

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 02:50:08

We discovered her after finally a woman from the hospital staff was with her to do what she could for her.
I imagine many people tried to get through to her, but were not able to.
Perhaps they knew that nothing could help, but just sitting on the floor next to her and holding her hand would have been enough.
Perhaps all that could have been done.

It’s really good to work with you, Melissa. Really good.

(Comments wont nest below this level)

Comment by George |Edit This
2009-07-24 13:49:14

We do not put our own problems in perspective until we read about people with real sorrow.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-24 16:27:45

I’ve seen a lot, but I’ve never been affected like this before. It just won’t stop playing in my head.

Comment by Lenore |Edit This
2009-07-24 14:16:06

oh man.
that poor woman.
i’m sorry, mom.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-24 16:28:38

I’m helpless to understand it.

Comment by Brad Listi |Edit This
2009-07-24 14:17:54

Holy mercy.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-24 16:29:42

She was hoping for some. That was when she came to understand there would be none.

Comment by Aaron Dietz |Edit This
2009-07-26 21:23:40

Well said. This little comment reply was equally as impacting to me as the piece.

(Comments wont nest below this level)

Comment by Stefan Kiesbye |Edit This
2009-07-25 07:35:29

yes.

Comment by Stefan Kiesbye |Edit This
2009-07-25 07:38:29

what I wanted to say is, that, yes, it’s a moment where there is no no out, just an impasse.

(Comments wont nest below this level)

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 11:53:44

Precisely, Stefan.

Comment by Stephanie |Edit This
2009-07-24 14:23:27

Wow, Irene. You are amazing for putting your time into visiting these kids.
After my mother recovered from breast cancer, she would volunteer doing the same thing, saying it was a totally full filling and rewarding experience. But it caused so much depression, seeing most of the children were terminal. Her psychologist recommended she stop.

I wouldn’t even want to imagine how it sounded to hear that mother crying like that(just imagining it is completely depressing), I would have cried myself.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-24 16:32:37

Stephanie,
Honestly, most of them are cured or go into remission today. Since we act as though everything is all right, they don’t even worry.

Comment by Megan DiLullo |Edit This
2009-07-24 14:24:29

Thanks Mama Zion for helping so many people.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-24 16:37:40

Megan,
You have to understand that these are children. What a child experiences is what he thinks is normal. Most of them just take being in the hospital and all that it entails as what their life is. When they start so young, they don’t know anything else.

Comment by keiko |Edit This
2009-07-24 14:28:14

oh man, poor lady. i should take dewey to volunteer more often.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-24 16:40:43

Keiko,
You should! Brooklyn loves her work at the abused children home. She cheers them up and makes them feel loved. In turn, that makes you feel like you are making a small difference in their lives.
The hospital is a bit tricky with dogs. Some doctors allow them and some do not. The kids who get to see the dogs really thrive from the pure love of a therapy dog.

Comment by christine w. |Edit This
2009-07-24 14:36:09

You are amazing.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-24 16:42:40

Christine,
I’m just a mother whose children have grown up and gone. I miss children. Usually it is very good for me. This particular incident was stark and is burned in my heart forever.

Comment by Brin Friesen |Edit This
2009-07-24 14:39:17

Jesus, Irene. Where does your mind go to deal with such a place?

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-24 16:50:02

Brin,

This was unusual. No one could see this and not know it.
For the most part the little ones don’t even know they are different.
It is more difficult with the teenagers because they know what is happening to them. It takes a strong back to go into their rooms smiling and play uno with them, or talk about the work they have to do for the once a week teacher who calls them to try to keep them caught up in school. They can tell if you are faking it. You have to be happy when you go in their rooms. You learn how to do it because it’s important.

Comment by Frank |Edit This
2009-07-24 14:43:46

Share, yes. “Enjoy”? Don’t think that’s quite what this one is about…

You’ve captured the poignancy of despair so well, here, all the more sorrowful because it’s dangerously real, not safely encapsulated within a fiction, however good that fiction may be. Did anyone -could anyone? -give that grieving woman any comfort?

You do good work, Irene -on paper, and on the wards.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 02:55:50

Frank,
People were at a loss as to what to do for her, before someone from the hospital was called to try to help.

I think that there are reasons for this. I think people are afraid to get so close to despair. Also I think that on the whole people are cowards. It’s something we all have to fight against. It’s scary to face such pain. It’s natural to feel cowardly and useless.

If we had been there to find her in this state, we would have just parked the toy cart and sat down on the floor and touched her in some way she would allow. Perhaps held her hand or simply touching her arm.

Even though she was alone in her agony, she should have had someone to sit with her.

Comment by Irwin |Edit This
2009-07-24 14:58:42

Jesus, my eyes are dampening.

One of the moust haunting, touching things I’ve ever read here.

Beautiful.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 02:56:29

Thanks for reading, Irwin.

Comment by Irwin |Edit This
2009-07-24 15:00:02

Incidentally, is Chutes and Ladders like Snakes and Ladders? And if so, why no snakes?

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 02:57:37

Irwin,
I’ve never heard of snakes and ladders, but it sounds like the same game to me. You funny people across the pond have the strangest names for things.

Comment by Irwin |Edit This
2009-07-25 04:47:57

Board game with squares going up to 100? Ladders go up, chutes go down?

That’s snakes and ladders, except with chutes in place of snakes.

To be honest, chutes make more sense.

(Comments wont nest below this level)

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 06:56:55

Yup, sounds like the same game. I think the snakes sound like way more fun though. kids like a little faux danger. Chutes are just slides. Americans are always trying to sugar-coat things for kids. A way of learning to deal with actual danger is to play act at it. Americans can be such idiots sometimes. You should see how the old books we used to read are being edited. It’s a crime.

Comment by lonny |Edit This
2009-07-24 15:05:04

yikes

i dont have anything else to say

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 02:58:25

Yeah, Lonny. Yikes indeed.

Comment by Cayt |Edit This
2009-07-24 15:19:54

Mama Zion, you are an angel.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 03:00:59

Hardly, Cayt,

There are lots of volunteers. Usually they are, like me, lonely for the children they raised who have grown up and left. You just have to have empathy. It’s a simple requirement.

Comment by Ben Loory |Edit This
2009-07-24 15:26:58

i’ve been haunted by that lady since you told me about her the other day. this only makes it worse. one time i was in the emergency room waiting area when a doctor came out and told a woman her son had just died of a gunshot wound to the head. she fell on her knees sobbing and clutched the doctor’s hands and pleaded with him to say he was lying, demanded. he just stood there and then tore himself away and walked off. it was the worst thing i ever saw and i did absolutely nothing. the girl i was with got down beside the woman and held her and apologized over and over and over and the woman didn’t even know she was there. i don’t even remember how it ended. i can’t even conceive of an ending. i probably went home and read a book. sorry this was so long.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 03:14:02

You see, Ben! This happens all the time, but rarely are we find ourselves in the position of spectators.

I know I would have been that woman, pleading and demanding for the doctor’s words to be lies. So would most parents, I think, given they were in her unenviable position.

In this case, the doctor was an ER doc. Can you imagine how many of these scenes he has to try to file away as far from his conscious mind? It probably happens every day. How could he continue to save those that he can if the despair takes over? If you can’t protect yourself in some way doing this job, you would just have to quit. I think he should have called over a nurse or a social worker to be with her, though. Perhaps they were understaffed. Who really knows?

I would have did as your girlfriend did, I hope, but most people can’t be near such grief. it’s just too frightening. It hits too close to your own life, to your own child, to your own kin.

As to writing a long comment, please do. The piece was mighty short. It needed some balance.

2009-07-24 15:31:10

A friend once told me about the sound he heard his grandfather made after losing the woman he’d been married to, and loved, for the overwhelming majority of his life. He said it was a sound unlike anything he’d ever heard before, and something he’d never forget.

You’re a wonderful person for doing the work you do, Irene. My heart goes out to her, and to you.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 03:15:37

Simon,

Human grief, once witnessed, can never be forgotten, nor should it be.

Comment by Ruthie |Edit This
2009-07-24 16:26:15

Your story started out with a light tone as many of yours do but its plunge into seriousness was quick and amazing. The way you described this woman was vivid. It must have been heartbreaking to witness. In a few words it reminds us all to be really, really thankful for our own good fortunes.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 03:19:53

Ruthie,

Being a volunteer puts things into perspective. It grounds you in a greater reality.

Comment by Melissa(Irene’s friend) |Edit This
2009-07-24 17:17:09

The best part of my week is going to see these children. It makes your heart swell to get a tiny smile of of a sick kid.
Irene. That mom will be with me. I think forever.
I was that mom once. the reason I went back to the hospital to volunteer. My oldest son had three operations there. Pretty major but not life threating.
There was a day I could not take it anymore. my baby lay there in bed, hurting with no smile.
I broke. I was in a tiny waiting room and I was wailing. A wonderful volunteer came and put her arms around me.
I am just giving back.
Melissa

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 03:22:16

I won’t forget either, Melissa, we’re together in that.
I’m giving back, too. Everyone has something to give back for.

Comment by Rachel Pollon |Edit This
2009-07-24 17:23:17

Oh Irene, it’s so wonderful that you go there every week and make those children’s and families lives a little brighter during such an awful time. I’m so sorry for this woman. And for you for having to experience it. But really it shows what a strong and empathetic person you are for being there to begin with. I’m saying a little prayer for peace… for everyone.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 03:26:03

Thanks, Rachel. It does your heart good to volunteer. It’s a whole lot easier to do it if you are retired. All of you are mostly young and busy with work and families. One day you may find that there’s a hole where your children were. This is a way to fill up that hole.

Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
2009-07-24 17:33:14

James Michael Blaine said something in the comments section of his last post. To someone who said they didn’t believe in an afterlife, he (jmb) responded that he didn’t believe in *this* life. I’m inclined to agree with him.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 03:28:15

Erika Rae,
We both know that jmb is wise beyond his years. I hope it is as comforting to be him as it seems from the outside.
What’s the expression? Life is hard and then you die.

Comment by the kayak lady |Edit This
2009-07-24 17:42:05

thankx for sharing your words about the experiences you witness at the hospital. i see lots and hear lots at nursing homes and assisted living homes where i give massages on tuesdays and thursdays. sometimes i laugh til i cry and sometimes i just cry. God loves us all. and the rest is up to us.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 03:32:20

Brooklyn went to a nursing home for years. She’s having trouble walking now, so she’s only doing the abused kids place for now.
I find the nursing home to be absolutely terrifying. I smiled and I laughed with them and I saw how much joy my therapy dog gave them, but I still drove home crying every time.
You are a stronger person than I, Mary.

Comment by sara k |Edit This
2009-07-24 17:48:34

makes me really appreciate me and my family’s good health. i’m sorry you experienced something so heartbreaking.

“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.” ~Barbara Bloom

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 03:34:09

Sara K,

That is a beautiful quote and a wonderful sentiment. I’ve never heard it before.
Thank you.

Comment by Marni Grossman |Edit This
2009-07-24 18:00:04

Irene. I don’t think I can say anything that everyone hasn’t said already.

I used to volunteer helping kids with their homework after school at a battered women’s shelter. And we too spent our time acting like everything was normal, keeping their spirits up. It was easy to forget about the horror in their lives.

Until a scene like this intrudes on the delusion.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 03:36:26

Exactly, Marni.

The delusion is such a comforting cloak. When it’s ripped off, it rips off your skin.

2009-07-24 20:20:42

Aw…

You’ve broken a hundred hearts with this post…

… and healed a thousand more.

xo

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 03:37:31

Famous New York Kimberly,

kiss back.

Comment by Greg Olear |Edit This
2009-07-25 01:32:24

The cancer ward for children is, alas, one of the places where you can be exposed to raw pain like that. That possibility is probably what makes it such a scary place for many of us. Not only must you radiate cheerfulness, you must also steel yourself for a glimpse at horror.

And I echo what everyone else says. You’re racking up karmic frequent flier miles, Irene, that’s for sure. It’s inspiring.

Greg

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 03:43:03

I agree, Greg.
It is too scary for most people and it is really hard to “radiate cheerfulness” with horror just around the corner.

I hope it does inspire people, but in my case, I am only trying to do what has been done for me. So many kind things people did for me at moments when I needed them.

Comment by ksw |Edit This
2009-07-25 04:03:51

one of your best pieces. as a bit of solice, sometimes the prognosis works out better than the prediction.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 04:22:29

Thanks for that, doc! A little light at the end of the tunnel is what is needed here!

2009-07-25 05:52:18

This is my favorite piece of yours. And it hits home, and not just cause I watched a kid make a crayon pillow a week ago.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 06:58:28

Thanks, Nick.
That means a lot to me.

Comment by jmb |Edit This
2009-07-25 09:58:09

I hear there is a peace
that passes understanding
but it does not feel like peace
first there is shock
then pain
then anger
then, if you can give yourself
to reality
and the futility of control
compassion

I am far from this peace.
I want to tear down heaven
& demand the insanity
stop

the other day outside the ER
a black-suited man walked slowly from the
double doors
carrying an infant car seat
a little yellow blanket covering the face
stuffed lion dangling from the side
the doors closed
and opened again
and then came the mother
and it just hurt me so bad Irene
so bad

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 13:57:13

The tricky part of peace
that passes all understanding
is that you can’t
understand
the shock
the pain
the anger
the reality and
the futility

No one who is
sentient
can feel the peace.

All with empathy
have issues
with reality

There must come a time
when the fact that
a child
who is born
and yet can’t live
is understood.

It just is not
now.

The capacity to
tolerate
the pain of
the wait
is
grace.

2009-07-25 14:09:30


amma
mother
Zion

(Comments wont nest below this level)

Comment by Michelle Shayne |Edit This
2009-07-25 10:57:22

It’s beautiful that you play with the children. They need the opportunity to just be a kid – not a sick kid- just a kid.

I’m just now coming off my rounds with adult cancer patients. Reading your words that sting with the pain you observed with the lady in the chair is jarring. The patients I saw today were at a very different place in their journey. A parent who is unable to save her child reveals a burning fury unlike anything I saw today. And yet, my adults, like the children with whom you play, also long for the time when they could just be themselves- as they were before the cancer. They want to work and be with family. They want the energy, the appetite they once had.

Keep doing what you’re doing with the children.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 12:25:34

Michelle,

Are there therapy dogs where you do your rounds? If the doctors allow it, the dogs are such a respite from their travails. They comfort the sick. They reassure the troubled. There is consolation for the bereaved. Dogs, I believe, are a gift from G_d. They can replace the knowledge that all will be well with the knowledge that, for just this moment in time, all IS
well.
I believe that working with children is easier. They are so young that they do not know any other life. This is the life G_d gave them. They don’t question. It is the older children, the ones who know what is happening, who are the heart-breakers.
I know it is the same with adults. They know the score. They know the odds. But Lord, they want so badly to just be back to normal. The normal that everyone else takes for granted.

(Shura and Vera would have loved my dogs. They were the best grandparents my children ever had.)

Comment by Ben |Edit This
2009-07-25 11:34:16

Be honest, Mom, advertisements for children’s cold medicine haunt you. It is a pretty low threshold.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 12:27:38

Ben,
I will grant you that I am emotional, but I assure you that some memories are burned into your heart. I hope that you never, ever know that.

Comment by Frank |Edit This
2009-07-25 17:25:27

Irene-

As I read through the comments, and your responses, there was something amorphous but vaguely familiar far in the back of my mind that finally coalesced into coherency and came into focus: I think that helping that poor lost woman was -is -perhaps akin to comforting the mortally wounded or maimed at accidents or in wars: just being there.

I’m still shaking my head at the scene you described.

The best thing -no, that’s only relative -the good thing about your piece is that is makes us consider the consequences, and to consider wht each of us might have done/would do in a similar situation.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 23:42:32

Thanks, Frank. I certainly do hope something good can come from this horrible story.

Comment by Tim |Edit This
2009-07-25 17:41:13

Again with the uplifting stories . . .

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 23:43:06

Tim,

I paint what I see….

Comment by Gina Frangello |Edit This
2009-07-25 19:03:59

Hi Irene–
One of my best friends used to be a kid on a cancer ward. She had childhood Hodgkin’s, twice, and spent much of her high school experience in hospitals. She is now 40 and has just adopted a baby from Ethiopia. She remembers people like you, who volunteered their time (especially her tutor, since she was a little bit older) very fondly, very kindly, as making a true impact at a time when many people could not treat her normally, could not bear to look.
That is the good thing I had to say.
The awful one is this: I don’t think you will ever shake that woman from your mind. When I was about 14 years old, a kid a few years older than I was, who lived on our block, died. It had been an accident: he went into the hospital for a knee surgery and they gave him the wrong anesthesia, something he was allergic to, and killed him. His family was poor, Spanish-speaking, with no real resources and there was never a lawsuit, though there should have been. But at his wake, his mother had pulled her chair up to the casket and was sitting there stroking her son’s hair, keening just the way you describe. She did this for most of the entire night. It seemed bottomless, where she was. It was the most horrible, intimate, harrowing thing anyone there had ever seen. It burns you and leaves a scar.
I commend you for continuing to walk into that place after seeing such a sight. It’s human nature to want to avoid pain, and the pain you saw was so profound that it hurt even those who are not directly involved.
What you’re doing is so important. I know there’s a lot of joy there too, and you and Melissa are just the wise, fun women to find it.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 23:49:39

Oh Lord, Gina,
That poor woman. I can see it and hear it as if I had been there.
I know that I can see it better because of what I’ve seen before.
You must feel the same way about the lady in the chair.

“Intimate,” that was the word I was searching for when I wrote this piece. It was something so private and yet so public that it frightened people away.

I’m so glad to hear that your friend has good memories of the volunteers.
You see, everyone? Childhood cancers are very frequently cured!

Comment by Zara Potts |Edit This
2009-07-25 20:24:47

Irene, you are wonderful. How lucky they are to have you, how lucky you are to have them. Bless you.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-25 23:51:10

Hi Zara,
Thanks for reading.
As I’ve been saying, I’m the lucky one.
I have debts to pay.

Comment by Marcia, still in Illinois |Edit This
2009-07-26 05:40:14

I don’t think there is anything worse than losing a child. But the children need to play and not just see people who are scared or grieving. That’s why you go.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-26 08:02:02

Marcia,
You still retain the title of the smartest person in the world.

Comment by Ed |Edit This
2009-07-26 05:55:33

Your story made me feel a lot of emphathy. And also made me want to find out more about the word “keening”. According to Wiki:
“Written sources that refer to the practice in Ireland reappear from the sixteenth century on. It should be noted however that the principle of improvised vocal lament is in no way reserved to Ireland (the term keen is also used with reference to Scottish tradition) and that laments are documented from various cultures around the world.

The Irish tradition of keening over the body at the burial is distinct from the wake – the practice of watching over the corpse – which took place the night before the burial. The “keen” itself is thought to have been constituted of stock poetic elements (the listing of the genealogy of the deceased, praise for the deceased, emphasis on the woeful condition of those left behind etc.) set to vocal lament. While generally carried out by one or several women, a chorus may have been intoned by all present. Physical movements involving rocking, kneeling or clapping accompanied the keening woman (”bean caoinadh”) who was often paid for her services.

After consistent opposition from the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland (Synods opposed the practice in 1631, 1748 and 1800) that went so far as to recommend excommunication for offenders, the practice became extinct; the Church’s position is however unlikely to have been the sole cause. Although some recordings have been made and the practice has been documented up to recent times, it is generally considered to be extinct.”

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-26 08:08:45

Wow, Ed,

Keening has more meanings than I knew! Thanks for checking that out.

I was speaking of the rocking, vocal lament.

The fact that it became institutionalized at one point, I think, is secondary to its natural existence as a reaction to a devastating event.

If I’m not explaining myself well, write back and I’ll try to do better.

2009-07-26 11:48:37

Bless you for the work you’re doing, Irene.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-26 13:08:33

Bless you for wearing that hot red bathing suit at the LA off the blog show! I hear you kicked ass!

In response to you I would reiterate that I am blessed by being with the children.

Comment by Ursula |Edit This
2009-07-26 13:14:12

Your story is wonderfully told. Your visits must bring some normalcy to these children that maybe do not even comprehend fully what is happening to them. The way you describe the woman rocking and lamenting, not being able to accept the inevitable, the image will stay with me for a while. Hopefully some of the children will do well.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-27 02:18:39

Thanks, Ursula,

Whatever you do, don’t read Gina’s comment. You’ll end up with two stories glued forever in your brain.

Comment by D.R. Haney |Edit This
2009-07-26 18:22:52

And to think that I’ve been mildly depressed all day–and for what? I didn’t and don’t know the reason.

Anyway, I feel properly put in my place.

Bless you, Irene.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-07-27 02:15:50

Hey, Duke,

Honestly, I feel as though I should be a nun, the way everyone is treating me.
I don’t do anything special. I just play with kids because I’m lonely and it makes me happy.

You’re right, it is a good lesson in perspective, eh?

Comment by D.R. Haney |Edit This
2009-07-27 02:39:23

That was my point.

Comment by Amy |Edit This
2009-08-05 08:51:06

You mentioned something about an incident at the hospital to me the other day, but you didn’t want to talk about it. Now I know why. One thing I know is to try to be compassionate to other people. We never know where there road has taken them.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-08-07 11:39:00

Amy,
Sometimes I find it difficult to verbalize things and yet I can somehow write it out.
Can’t say as I know what makes that true for me.
I also think your attitude is correct.
You just never know.

Comment by JEANNETTE |Edit This
2009-08-07 04:31:45

Irene I didn’t realize you volunteered at the hospital. what a difference in the lives of those kids you are making. God bless you for what you are doing!! I feel so sorry for that woman. It makes you rethink the little things we complain about.

Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
2009-08-07 11:43:57

Jeannette,

Grief is a horrible thing to witness.
Horrible.

TAGS: , , ,

IRENE ZION has been married to the same curmudgeon for 40 years. She has 5 children, none of whom sufficiently appreciates her. The one you probably know is Lenore, who frequently gives her mother hives. Irene paints oil portraits and makes her own frames. She has been described as an outsider artist. Most of her paintings creep people out, especially her family. She finds this to be greatly satisfying. She writes non-fiction for TNB and loves every minute of it. She is writing fiction now too, but is too chicken to show it to anyone. She has two golden retrievers who will inherit anything of worth she leaves behind. Her kids will delight in dividing up her famous cork collection and her notorious stockpile of bubble wrap.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *