In a new year with meanness and cruelty on the news every day, there are counter forces at work. Here is my favorite Pay-It-Forward story so far for 2019. It involves my lovely friend Eva Zimmerman, who agreed to let me to share it. Eva and her husband, Noah Schreck, welcomed their first child, daughter Zahra, into the world last spring. But the exuberant joy they were having was interrupted by Noah’s diagnosis of colon cancer, requiring surgery in December.
On January 2, Eva posted this story (lightly edited here) on Facebook.
“Noah is home! He has a lot more healing and resting (and eating) to do to get back to his old self and Zahra is being super helpful by screaming and screeching at a newly-discovered ear piercing volume, constantly. We’ll readjust and recalibrate and make this work. We’re thankful to be together.
“We are so fortunate to have so much support. Meals waiting on the porch, welcome signs and ice cream delivered, childcare, and just the love and prayer that we’ve felt this entire time… Thank you, all.
“As I was leaving the hospital with all of Noah’s belongings, taking everything to the car to load it and go pick him up in the patient loading zone, I stood watching a beautiful young black couple comforting each other as they were waiting for the parking lot elevator. The elevator opened, she entered, he motioned for me to go ahead of him, he held the door open for me. As we stood there, heading to the same parking lot floor, he wished me a Happy New Year. I told him that it truly was a Happy New Year, that I was taking my husband home today after almost two weeks in the hospital.
“The woman said, ‘Our son will be here for the next two weeks.’ I told her I hoped he’d be home soon, healthy. She said, ‘Hoping for soon and cancer-free.’ I told her, ‘My husband is leaving today, cancer-free.’ She said, ‘This is why he’s here, they are doing surgery to remove his cancer.’ I told her that this is exactly why my husband has been here, they got it, they got the cancer, and he’s leaving today cancer-free. She and I held hands and I said, ‘I’m sending the blessing to you all now. It’s with you now.’ As we walked to our cars, she told her husband of the chills that went through her and simultaneously, they went through me. Though incredibly hard, we’ve been protected through this, because of you all. I gave that protection and blessing back to another family just as we left. It was a moment I’ll never forget. I don’t know their name. But as I write this, I’m watching Noah sleep next to me, and I’m thinking of them, envisioning their son home safe, soon and cancer-free.”
Take that, meanness.
It’s lovely to think that there are still such tremendous acts of kindness in the world.
Here’s to the doctors and other medical workers who can make good things happen.
I like that story too. Thank you. I think it would be nice if we could get to the point where we didn’t feel the need to identify the couple as “a beautiful young black couple.” How about a beautiful young couple. I like to get away from that kind of identifying people. We are just people people people. Love your writing Fran.
You have a point. But knowing Eva as I do I think it was simply trying to keep the picture of the two without getting overly descriptive. We are indeed wonderfully different, and wonderfully the same. Thanks for reading!
Love this! This is the way the world should be. The way humans should interact in caring concern. And many do. So many more than we see or know of. It just doesn’t make news. Thank you for sharing.
Amen. It’s the small caring stories that so often don’t get told. I loved sharing this one.