She sits alone in a Subway Restaurant
Dressed in a matching blue outfit, her walker by the table
I can see her worn wedding ring on her left hand, yet she sits alone
She has a conversation, with whom I don't know
Her lips move and I try to read them but can't make out the words
She looks so familiar,
like my nana did
did my nana also sit in a restaurant, talking to herself,
seemingly all alone
Will she be alone tomorrow, for mothers day...
I smile at her as I leave
she smiles back, as if she knows me
her face lights up a little
I should go back and ask if I can sit
but I don't and as I walk away
I start to cry
Tomorrow is Mother's Day, I have a mother and I love her. I had another mother I knew for 7 short weeks and whom I miss everyday. I had a Nana that I knew and loved for almost 27 years and whom I miss with all my heart.
This summer I have chosen to not go to Haiti, a nation filled with mothers. Mothers, who, this year will find it a little more difficult to feed their children due to a food crisis that's occurring there as a result of a number of different factors (You can read about it here http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2013/feb/19/food-crisis-brewing-haiti).
This summer I chosen instead to send the money I would spend travelling there ($1200 in flights alone) to organizations that I know will need the money to feed their patients.
These organizations include TiKay Haiti (http://www.tikayhaiti.org/) an organization that spend over $1000 a month in feeding hospitalized HIV/AIDS and TB patients in Port Au Prince.
Heartline Ministries (http://heartlineministries.org/) whose women's program provides weekly, nutritious meals to expectant and breastfeeding moms.
Real Hope for Haiti, who provide medical care and a rescue center for malnourished children in the mountains of Haiti (http://www.realhopeforhaiti.org/). Check out their blog for some amazing and heartbreaking stories.
And last but not least, to an organization that is run by a young Canadian women from the Yukon called Little footprints, Big Steps (http://littlefootprintsbigsteps.com/). I have never met Morgan but know people who have and who speak highly of her. Her goal with her organization is to reunite street kids and child slaves with their families and to help them get an education.
It has been a difficult decision to make, to not go back... Haiti and everything that I know of it has become so precious to me. Yet today, as I watched this beautiful senior sitting alone, I knew deep in my heart what has always been my calling... and therefore I know that I will commit money and my thoughts and love to the little Caribbean country, but for this year I will commit myself and my time to the needs of people back here in Edmonton. I have chosen to spend the better part of my summer volunteering here, at home with 3 different groups: Seniors Assisted Transportation Services, a group that provides transportation for low-income seniors and a group I have volunteered with for a few years now; Edmonton Meals on Wheels, love the idea of helping out in the kitchen as well as hopefully driving meals to the people who use their services and The Edmonton General Continuing care facility where I will hopefully be a friendly visitor to those who don't get many people visiting them (look for us out for walks along the promenade!) I feel this is where I need to be for right now and that today, the Universe sent me a message loud and clear.
I had initially thought of offering up a challenge in the form of donation matching but after much thought I am just going to say this:
Join me in volunteering at home or abroad (even a few hours a week can make all the difference)
Join me in learning about a cause and if you feel inclined make a donation to it
(Little footprints is a Canadian NGO so you will receive a tax receipt)
or just join me in giving me strength and your well wishes.
Happy Mothers day to the sweet, little old lady I saw today
May you know that you are thought of
the next time I will sit and talk to you
so that behind that smile, next time you will know me.