for Jenna Tanigawa
At 9,375 feet, winging away from Hawaii,
I opened the little plastic bag,
its green closure yielding easily, and,
glancing at the traveler next to me in 14B
absorbed in a movie on his phone,
I took a bite of love.
Love tasted like turkey and cheese
wrapped in simple bread. Love tasted
like it had been assembled by a busy mom
that morning, early, as she got her
little girl ready for the day
before getting herself ready
for the day, as moms do.
Love tasted like the ride that young mother
gave me to the airport the morning
I had to leave my love in the care of good
friends—eight days after his triple bypass,
seventeen days after a cardiac arrest
felled him, seventeen days after
strangers pumped his chest and
applied the pads that shocked him
back to life.
Love tasted like nine days of care
in the hospital before his surgery,
like the talented, dedicated team
whose surgeon took photos for us
on his phone of the flabby heart
and then the repaired one.
Love tasted like the blessing of friends
who sent support from afar, the island ones
who brought warm clothes and blankets,
who came to sit with us, like the people
who took their house in the clouds
off the market to rent to us, a sweet place
of refuge when we so needed one.
Love tasted like the gift of a defibrillator
like the one that saved him
and the training that went with it—
from this mom who’d made the
sandwich and tucked it into a little bag
with a napkin and two energy bars
for my flight home.
Love tasted like deep breaths
when tears of gratitude came
at 12,400 feet, at 22,670 feet,
at 35,135 feet, our cruising altitude
into an approaching night,
aloha buoying me across the Pacific
to a careful descent and a landing
so gentle I barely felt the wheels
of the great craft kiss the ground,
I have been following this story, Jan. All my love to you and Dick. Blessings to you both
I have followed this journey from the beginning not knowing one of the people involved. I fell in love with you and all the people on this journey. I am grateful to have been able to join in the beauty, vulnerability and the love expressed. Thank you for writing it and sharing it. Gratefully yours, Ruth
Love the poem and the story with its very happy ending. Congratulations on getting him home!
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