I love my life here. I love my job, my home, my community. I am involved and focused. My job requires a lot of energy. And the day to day of it can easily grab all of my attention. Often, I get so involved in the struggles and joys in the here and now, that I forget where I’ve been.
Not that I could ever actually forget where I’ve been. I have been so blessed, privileged even, to have been the places I’ve been, to have met the people I have met, to learn all that I have learned thus far. I have friends all over Asia who will always remain in my heart. Their spirits of determination were great lessons for me. Their kind hearts and contagious laughter are a part of me. We have connected on some level, and now, even here, they remain connected.
But it is easy to overlook those connects; to be so involved in what is going on in front of me that I forget those lessons, that laughter, those beautiful endearing faces.
And then I remember. And I long for my other home. For a city that despite its polluted, congested way, still has a hold me. For the women I grew to love, and who showed me great love and great strength. For the struggle there.
I received word today that two ladies from the Bethune House who I got to know fairly well, passed away recently. Both were fighting different forms of cancer. Both went home to the Philippines, and were eventually unable to afford the medications needed to fight the disease. Tintin – survivor of two brain tumors and surgeries, passed away earlier this year after a third tumor diagnosis. Gigi – a breast cancer fighter, passed away on May 31st. Both of the ladies had a smile that seemed to be their source of strength. Tintin was on of the first ladies I met at Bethune House, and she welcomed me in with her quiet spirit and deep laughs. Gigi was one of the bubbliest ladies I have ever met. She loved to laugh and sing and to make others happy.
They will both be deeply missed.
So sitting here, in Seattle, at another shelter, involved in another struggle, connecting to new lives, hearing other stories, more laughter and tears, I remember. I find myself connected to two places at once and marvel that I am not torn, but fulfilled. Though sadness is a part of this moment, there is joy in having known these beautiful women, and joy in knowing there is so much more to come.