Tuesday, November 22, 2005

My Right Arm

On Wednesday, November 30, 2005 I will be losing my right arm. It’s a frightening thought.

I have read that in certain countries they chop off the hand of a thief. Even for stealing a loaf of bread and even if the children were starving. I can’t imagine what must go through that thief’s mind once he’s been caught, knowing what fate awaits him. The terror must be profound, numbing and thorough. It’s an unimaginable situation, yet, I’m getting an idea of what it must be like. Next Wednesday I will be losing my right arm. And I'm no thief.

I have been thinking about this moment for nearly a year; preparing myself for the impending reality. The harsh screaming reality. I can barely think of it now without wincing. The thought of it makes my stomach feel like it does on an roller coaster; someplace below me, not a part of me, a little ill and out of sorts.

“Man cannot bear too much reality.” (T.S. Elliot). Yeah, he’s right. Each time the thought of it enters my mind, I push it back and try to think of something else. It’s terrifying to lose your right arm. My right arm has been with me for some time, you know. Christ, it’s connected to my heart even. When the arm goes, the heart will know it right away. And it’s just a week from today.

Sickness, is bad, but you generally get over it in a day or two. Slurp down a bowl of chicken soup and you’re on your way to feeling okay again in no time flat. I read that it’s even good for the soul. But there is no chicken soup that will prevent me from losing my right arm next Wednesday. No matter how good it tastes.

My right arm has been good to me. My right arm has filled in every time my left one missed a beat or was busy with something else. My right arm, whose handwriting I can’t read at all, left me all kinds of notes and messages to keep me up to date and well informed. Each week it prepared a great envelope filled with things for me to read and do. My right arm picked up the slack when I went on vacation.

Life will be different after next Wednesday; after I lose my right arm. Next Wednesday I will have to say good bye. Good bye, sweet arm. I will miss you.

- J.Brzezinski

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Some people reading this blog will not understand this post at all. Others, those who know Jo LeMieux-Murphy and have been working with her too, they know what a terrific right arm she has been for me these past several years and they too will miss her infectious laugh and good spirits; her diligence, unbending loyalty and warmth. They will join me in wishing her all the best in her new adventure. Next Wednesdday, when the moment comes to bid our final farewells, I just hope this cowboy doesn't burst into tears.


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