So, I was loathe to post anything about this amazing thing going on behind the scenes of my very active life, but I'm going to do it here in a lame attempt to accept grace -- well -- hopefully -- gracefully. Here's a guest post written by one of my oldest and dearest college friends, Missy B.
There is an old tradition in the South (does this happen everywhere?) involving casseroles and frozen fruit salads. This tradition demands that whenever there is a family crisis, a death, a hospitalization, a new baby, or an illness, friends line up at the door with food in disposable aluminum dishes that will hopefully bring some sort of comfort to the family in distress. When my mother was run down by a hit-and-run driver in our lovely suburban neighborhood in the late eighties (she improbably survived with only a broken leg), my family received so many casseroles that my younger brother set up a ranking system where fantastic meals were rated a 10 and the not-so-yummy might even receive a 1 (green bean casserole with canned French fries on top anyone?). When I improbably birthed twins at the age of 42 after years of infertility, we did not cook for a month because of the generosity of our friends who set up a meal brigade. I will never forget the shit-kicking smile on the face of one friend as her family of four marched down our driveway, each person proudly holding a piece of their lovely meal: salad…casserole…crusty bread…dessert.
It is what we do to somehow participate in the joy or the sadness of our friends. I mean, sometimes, what else can we do? We can’t take the burden from our loved ones but by this symbolic act, we are saying: “Know that you are loved. Know that we are thinking about you. Know that we want to help in some way.” It beats the hell out of handwringing and doing nothing, you know?
Those of you who love Elizabeth and her family from this blog might sometimes experience this feeling of desperation. My God! What can I do to help? Those of us who have known Elizabeth since college or even before and now live so far away join you, her new friends, in these feelings of inadequacy about our inability to somehow pitch in and help.
Remember Elizabeth writing about her weekend reunion with her friends from college a few months ago? (read about it here) Well, we all decided during that weekend that we wanted to somehow create a long-distance casserole brigade because none of us live close enough to support her in the day-to-day of taking care of her beautiful Sophie. We can’t bring her casseroles, give her respite, take her out for a drink, watch her in her plays, run a carpool one day or any of those things that we would be able to do if we lived around the corner.
So, instead of these things, we created a fundraiser page so Sophie can ride in style in a new Duet wheelchair bike. You can visit the site here if you want to participate:
(nota bene: Elizabeth was reluctant to share this on her blog but we convinced her that you guys might like to join the fun!)
I am, as you can imagine, speechless. A rare thing, all around.