Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Elliot and Gogo (I am a Survivor)

Elliot’s story is a painful one, but his title is a brilliant, happy one. Gogo’s story is a simple one, but her spirit of happiness is an extraordinary one. I am reminded of a day a couple years ago when our group strung together these phrases:

Every day is a birthday.

Every class is a party.

Everyone is a survivor of one thing or another.

I'll always remember these words, but not only that... I'll always remember the day when they were spoken, not by any one person, but by everyone altogether, all around the table. A different word came out of a different person's lips, but somehow all the words joined together perfectly. You can reread that blog post here. It's moments like that and stories like Elliot's and Gogo's that makes every day worth living.

Elliot Doomes
I Am a Survivor

I have survived a system that wanted me dead.  Where I come from there are no rules, no laws.  I lost a brother to gun violence; I myself was shot down about a block from here. My father died when I was six years of age.  My mother was a working mom.  I had no one to guide me.  Everything I knew back then I learned on the street.  It took me a long time to grow beyond that street mentality.

Gogo Jenny Williams
Out of the Mouths of Babes

Every day when I wake up—first I’m so thankful to see a new day, as I’m growing older my expectations are growing.

If you see me there is not much to see, a short grey-haired lady.  Kind of round for lack of a nicer word than my hospital charts say.  This self-assessment does not bother me.

I’ve been given a special gift, along with thankfulness, expectation, there is mirth and joy or, to sum these last two, laughter.  Even when trouble and sadness pay me a visit, something deep down inside that tinkles and bubbles and escapes in spite of me. 

Today at my senior center, someone shared a story about one of her grandchildren—she said “Grandma went to daycare today.”  After the laughter died down, we decided, yes, we get to hang out with people our own age, we go way back.

We are well taken care of, a safe environment, good food to eat, even when we complain.