Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Why you stand in line

I won't tell you the frustrating life stuff that's been going on...because it's faded to the background.

Last night was election night...and for the first time in 8 years I felt okay, much more at peace.

Just four years ago I stood in line to vote when any rational person would have been in bed or even in a hospital. I was on heavy drugs...and I was still recovering from my radical neck dissection, still unable to move my neck, feeling and really looking like Frankenstein. If there was anyone in line I went to high school with or once traded laughs with they wouldn't have known it was me. I stood among strangers who eyeballed this strange young woman with the funny looking neck and

I had not had the time to fill out an absentee ballot before cancer threw my life into a tailspin...but I had to vote. It mattered to me enough to put aside vanity and comfort to get in line and vote. Waiting in line, standing even was excrutiating.
But in 2004 I did...and at least I know I cast my vote.

Whether it was the heavy strength pain killers or just the raw emotion of standing in line when I wasn't really physically able to do so...I cried like a crazy girl watching a Steel Magnolias, Beaches Marathon after results came in.
But I had NO regrets because I had been there. But still it's hard to swallow such frustration at such a time. The issues of health care that were cornerstones of my voting choice were issues I now stood in full a life I couldn't recognize. And the end of 2004 felt like the precipice of another 4 years of fear and anxiety.

Last night...four years after that voting day...I cast my vote again, healthy, strong and feeling that I had weighed all options and thought about my choices long and hard. This time I quietly slipped in among the crowd. Cancer's scars have faded. But life is very changed and I am four years wiser for it. I can know, in every fiber of my being, that this mattered to me in a very different mattered again and I never will take this right for granted. Electoral college or state or blue state, standing in line with 131 million Americans strong...whoever our choice was...truly is the only place to be on the First Tuesday in November.

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