I had planned on my semi-regular 12 Days of Christmas music posts, but I ended up with more pain and such than I could handle, making me forget what day I should have started and which videos I was going to use. I’ll post something, just not 12 days of videos.
Twitter has been the easiest way to stay in touch with a few people and it’s easy to post occasionally, to keep a few brain cells functioning, to find some humor when I need it most. But there have also been a few tweets that made it difficult to keep the tears from flowing.
Harry Leslie Smith died November 28. I’d been following him for quite a while and was saddened to hear he was ill. At 95, I didn’t hold much hope for his recovery from pneumonia, especially after they went to chest and feeding tubes. As a nurse, I knew how bad it likely was. But, there was still a small bit of hope…a tiny flame that Harry would make it, that his son would be able to take his dad home and eventually get back on the road, visiting refugee camps, appearing at speaking engagements, and maybe finishing another book. I felt extremely invested because of my dad. I knew all too well the way Harry’s son, John’s heart was racing and breaking. I offered whatever words I thought could possibly help, though in that situation nothing ever really helps. And I went at the news that Harry had succumbed to his illness.
— * — I’m going to ask you now to Google Harry Leslie Smith so you can learn more about this man who went from sheer poverty to soldier to author to human rights advocate during his remarkable life. I cannot do just to his legacy here. Please Google him. Quick link to his Wikipedia page for those too stubborn to Google. I’ll wait here. — * —
You’re back! Okay. So, now you know a bit about the astounding man who didn’t let the last years of his life go slowly or easily. Harry chose to do something to help others. He spoke his mind and heart. What a beautiful way to live, right?
His son, John, is continuing to update Harry’s Twitter account and is planning to continue on with the work Harry was devoted to. He’ll be in San Diego soon and then Mexico so he can see for himself what’s happening with the refugees who’ve been held by our government for simply seeking asylum. What’s happening down there is a travesty and to know that John is following in his father’s footsteps is enough to make my heart burst. Vale, Harry Leslie Smith. And to John, best to you. I know how hard it is to keep looking ahead, but you are most definitely your father’s son and you are meant for a very purposeful life.
Now on to the next item that stopped me in my tracks, leaving me teary and red-eyed. This story about a friendship no one really saw coming and how one woman’s loss brought this friendship to light. For Lin Wang’s family, especially his daughter Shirley, I send my heartfelt condolences and I send my gratitude for sharing this story. There are always surprises in everyone’s lives, but there are some that really take one aback.
For everyone missing a loved one this season, I feel you. For me this is raw and unknown territory. Perhaps it is for you, too. I’m here. Leave a comment. Let’s talk.