Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Interview With A Wise Woman

Right now... everyone around me, human and canine, is exhausted and asleep. Their energy is spent.
Not mine evidently.
I hear their individual breaths if I listen hard enough.
It is 9:32 pm in the Pacific Northwest US and the sun is still out over Port Gamble Bay.
We are so close to Alaska... I often feel our endless days of summers, sunsets past ten, dawn again around 4... are almost unworldly.
All of us here on Port Gamble Bay, our motley crew called a family, we have traveled many miles, over meany decades, to find each other and this odd yet precise point  in space in time.
Tonight, I feel intense gratitude to be home safe and sound.
And I want to share this gratitude... and wisdom garnered from a chance encounter...
with whoever happens by the blog.
I want to write about a case.
I am limited in what I can say, so I will put this carefully.
I worked an investigation in the past day or so, where a driver, who was a very bad man, ran over a woman in a kind of a wheelchair-like device that got sort of got sucked under his truck.
The guy who hit her acted like he could care less.
Strangers emerged from nowhere.  Supermarkets, banks.
It was very inspiring to hear how many sets of strong mens' arms lifted a 350 pick up off that woman's body and freed her.
The paramedics and ER staff saved her.
I was blessed  that I was sent to get her statement, because her words inspired me.
See this woman, a 100% Native American who is quite spiritual...
a tribal elder...
told me a story of forgiveness, survival and redemption.
Despite the multitude of crushed bones replaced in her body now by metal, pins, plates, and rods...
Despite the fact doctors do not know if she will ever walk again... 
the first thing she spoke to me of was forgiveness.
Not her injuries, not her pain.
It was all about how soon she will choose to forgive this man who crushed so many bones...
She hasn't forgiven the man yet, she said.
She knows she will though.
And as I proceeded to take photographs... pictures... and move around her body in the hospital bed with my camera...
I found myself consciously having to focus on injuries in the lens... and not the thoughts in my head -- being what this poor woman will have to endure the rest of her life.
She keeps talking in this soft, almost hypnotic voice.
I am done. Normally I just hop up say my good-byes and leave.
This time I put my camera away, closed my notebook, picked up my case case file and them  slumped back  into the overstuffed chairs one of the nurses brought in to face the injured woman for my interview.
The interview is over...
I'm just not ready to leave. 
She is so calm.
She is so grateful... and graciousness.
She tells me of growing up on the reservation. She tells me tales of darkness and tales of light.
My pen is away. I rely now on the sponge called my brain.
She is proud. Dignified.
Two nurses enter the room, I just sit there.
She does not complain when the nurses lift her to change a dressing.
I reach for my camera to document her pain and suffering...
to photograph her grimacing lips and tortured eyes...
and assure the nurses,  as I always do, none of their faces will be in the pictures.
When the nurses left, I asked her why she is this way.
She aked, "What way?"
I respond, "Just so...I dunno... rationale or calm about the whole thing?"
She laughed and said the EMT doctors and hospital staff asked the same thing.
She said she gave us all the same answers.
"Because I choose to. Because we choose how we respond to everything good and everything bad. I choose to not to complain and to be happy I am not dead."
And that was that.
I didn't know what else to say because she said it all.
I think we all have to think that at any point...
any second...
something can go down in our worlds to change it.
How we "process" that change is the key, I truly believe, to our emotional and physical well being.
That said, I am grateful to have made it through another day.
And equally grateful you have somehow found your way to this blog.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, interesting! Has anyone else come across the same thing compared to this? I am curious where to find more responses on this matter…