My husband once asked, “How do you decide what to write about?” I explained it’s like there is a filing cabinet in my head, and whatever is in the front file is the story that needs to be shared. He didn’t really get it, but then he was mostly “left brain,” and I’m not.
An incident happened the other day that has been haunting me. When the computer age took off, many older people chose to take a pass. We did not grow up with the technology and, to this day, I am clueless as to how it works. But if I was to continue as a writer, I felt there were two choices: 1) adopt a 12 year old, or 2) learn to ask for help.
I’ve been asking ever since — often by calling a “help number.” Many times I have ended up with someone in another country, but often I find myself not only getting the answers, but sometimes a delightful discussion unrelated to my computer problem.
A few years ago, when I could no longer see to navigate a website, a young guy at a clothing company told me all about his beloved dog, a corgi. He always seemed to answer my calls, and we had delightful discussions about our mutual love of dogs.
The other day, I was (once again) frustrated with a computer issue, so I called the 800 number of a large and well-known company — nothing to do with clothing. Who needs new duds these days when you never leave the house?
The sweetest young female voice took my call. She sounded about 23, and she was so determined to help me. I always explain about being visually challenged and in need of extra patience, but I began to feel guilty for taking up so much of her time. Suddenly, our conversation took an abrupt turn and here it is. Let’s call her Mary.
Mary: “I am so sorry I can’t solve your problem. Do you live alone?”
Me: Yep, all alone, except for my cat.”
Mary: “Oh, you have a cat? I have a cat. I never had one, but I do now for the past two years. She saved my life.”
Me: “Excuse me? Your cat saved your life? How did that happen?”
Mary: “Well, two years ago I was going through such a horrible time. I was so unhappy and depressed I decided to take my life.”
Me: I was momentarily stunned and speechless, but managed to ask, “Can you tell me about it?”
Mary: “Yes, because you love a cat and will understand. I was walking along a highway on my way to end my life, when suddenly this cat started following me. I stopped and looked at it, and the cat sat down and looked at me. I had never even touched a cat, but I bent down to pet it. Then I started walking again.”
Me: At this point I could feel my heart pounding just listening to her. She seemed to pause a moment, and I had to ask, “Then what happened?”
Mary: “When I kept walking, the cat kept following. For some reason I stopped and picked it up, and it snuggled in my arms. It was like this cat needed me, so I took it home, and she has been my reason for living ever since.”
I managed to thank Mary for sharing her story, but it was hard to keep my voice steady. My computer problem is still not solved, but somehow it feels like something extremely special happened in that phone call. I haven’t stopped thinking about Mary and her cat.
You can come to whatever conclusions you like, but for me, I have no doubt that God sent an angel to Mary during that end-of-life walk. Sometimes angels just might happen to be covered with fur.
“Don’t give up. Keep fighting for the good. Keep showing up. Keep loving. Keep giving back. Keep being kind. Keep being brave. Keep caring. Keep trying. Keep trying new things. Keep showing grace. Keep on. This world needs you to believe in the good.” (Author unknown)
Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her cat, Purrfect. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor.” The book, with all proceeds going to the Rotary International Foundation, is available at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]