Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Beautiful People

I'm still in the throes of my hearing trauma. My ear rings continually, and I miss the silence more than I've ever imagined possible. Should the tinnitus go away, I will celebrate the silence with gratitude.

Deciding that the cause is idiosyncratic and moving forward is daunting, but it must be done. I began hanging the mayor's art show, Visions of Denville, this morning with co-curator, Donna Compton, and will continue tomorrow, and then begin a four-day Halloween celebration. I cannot sit here and pity myself, when people with far more to deal with are getting along just fine -- bootstraps are being pulled.

I need to reflect, publicly, on all of the beautiful people who have appeared on the wing of an angel in these few days, and to thank them. Most of them won't read my blog, no, and they probably don't even know it exists. But you do, and just maybe seeing their wonderfully kind gestures will give you hope for humanity when yours may be waning.

After the bullying deaths of young people all over the country, and all the dirty politicking, and the random other acts of badness we so often hear about, I thought it important to show how everyday people can make everyday life extraordinary for at least one person.

My mail carrier came to drop off mail yesterday, just after I was getting off the phone with the doctor's office. I was frustrated that they didn't have test results, and just sort of fell out with tears. I told him what was going on and he shared a story of his in response, showing his empathy. It was kind. And then today, in my mailbox, was a letter from "Gabi, PO 07046." My name and address were lavishly written on the envelope, with loops and curves that showed great care. Gabi works at the post office, and we speak whenever I go in. Apparently, my mail carrier told her what was going on with me after he'd finished his route. She'd sent me a feel better card, with a really thoughtful note, one that I never in a million years expected. Beautiful.

The ladies at the MRI center were so kind. The stayed with me, patiently, as I cried and cried, bringing me tissues and bestowing me with huge hugs. One woman, Candace, even offered me tea. They told me to take it a step at a time. Beautiful.

I'd reached out to my old high school friend John, and his wife, Shannon, because I'd remembered that John had had a benign brain tumor years ago, and I wanted to know who he saw, what he did, and the depth of his experience. His wife immediately told him that I was waiting for MRI results for a brain tumor, and he called me right away. I see them on occasion around town and always talk to them, but for them to care enough to reach out to me, and for him to call me, with words of encouragement, kindness, and experience, was beyond kind. Beautiful.

My brother, who I don't speak to often, called to remind me of other possible options for my tinnitus (which are now being explored), and reminded me not to worry. He matter-of-factly told me that these other possibilities were more probable than a tumor. My mother walked the tight rope with me, and my father was giving me names at Sloane-Kettering to get second opinions. Just in case. Beautiful.

And then today, I got the good news from my doctor while I was hanging art at the Denville Municipal building. Kathy, the mayor's secretary, knew I was waiting to hear back from my doctor, and when she heard me burst into tears and say, "Oh my God, thank you. Oh, thank God. Oh, such great news," she came into the hall to give me a giant, teary hug. Beautiful.

My boyfriend, my rock, who I've gotten so close to (especially) over the past year that he knows what I am thinking before I say it, both said and did everything that I needed, exactly as I needed it, every moment that I needed it, and needed him. He has my heart. Beautiful.

Every single one of my friends who only heard about this after the news was good, sent me loving messages full of support. One friend who knew before, lit a candle to St. Jude and said a prayer for me. Betty, my angel. Beautiful.

Artist Katy Keuter's painting arrived at my house -- so auspicious -- after traveling all the way from Italy, just in time to lift my spirits when they were on the floor. Beautiful.

I don't know much about life, and sometimes I think that the more I begin to think I know, the quicker I realize that I know less than ever. Right now, I believe that life is unpredictable, and that random things happen for unexplained reasons. It's unnerving, but it's outside of my control.

But the fact that there are people who care, and who aren't necessarily the people closest to me, gives me hope and make the unpredictability a little more manageable.


  1. Tiffany,
    I am so glad the news was good news. We had to do the MRI for my youngest four years ago to also rule out a tumor I was on pins and needles the whole time before, during and after waiting for results. She like you had goods news too:) I hope they do figure out what is causing your ringing that would make day to day stuff so hard to get through. I love that all these people around you were so supportive I think this is one of the best things about life!

  2. Thank you Katy. It's so scary waiting, isn't it? The only thing I kept thinking was, Thank God it's me and not my son. So you, having to wait for info for your child, MY GOD. I cannot imagine.

    The ringing is very distracting, and waxes and wanes. But as you read, receiving Deciding to Stay (and all the other wonderful things, the Italy photo cards and envelopes - oh my!) made things much better.