May 29, 1950, my brother's birth day. And his death day. He lived to be 3 hours. In those days they took the baby away from the mother immediately, she never got to hold him, and she never knew what happened to him. I found where he was buried and got his death certificate decades later. This is a child who was born alive who was simply taken away. But he shaped my destiny.
Surely my work at the St. Petersburg Children's Hospital has multiple reasons for its existence. I was raised as a Christian to "love your enemies" and no one could be more our enemy than the Soviet Union, whose stated goal was that they would bury us. We thought there would be World War III and that few would survive.
And when I talk about love, here is what I mean. When my Dad was a child he wrote a letter to Santa that was printed in the Middletown [Ohio] Journal:
"I am six years old and live at 604 Mary Etta street. You may fill my stocking if you have anything left after you visit the little boys and girls who do not have toys."
This is the definition of love in our family. Dad would give you the grocery money and not think twice. Mother would guide us to do the right thing despite obstacles. Ha! As the oldest in this family I was doomed to be a humanitarian.
Was it my choice? Totally. But the energy pushing me toward this goal was intense. Do something high, something important, something meaningful, something of high moral standards. No pressure. And the sacrifice of my personal, physical, emotional life? No problem. I feel fortunate that I penciled in time to get married and have children. That worked out well. But the guilt remains. How much time for which goals.
So now my lovely children have grown up and are doing wonderful things of their own. I have created a program that has directly saved the lives of 3,000+ children. Is it enough? Dear God I hope so but fear it is not. Do I have enough left in me to go one more round?
And I am not even counting my involvement in things political in order to keep our nation from descending into totalitarianism. I spend much of my time these days working behind the scenes here in Washington to help save what's left of our nation from tyranny. I argue with very intelligent people who don't yet see the danger about what has happened and what can happen. The Republicans in government now have gone too far. Can we keep them from taking control of the elections, of what's left of the Justice Department, I would go on but I'm crying.
GOD HELP US