Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Barbara and Robin, and Contact Lenses

I was able to see an hour of the broadcast of the funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush, who was, of course, one of two women in our nation's history to have been both first lady and the mother of a president.  That seems about an every-200-years event, but I would bet one tenth of the baby-shoe money that it will happen again, sooner than we think.  Apparently we have made the cult of personality into a dynastic thing, to where children of presidents are thought to be logical successors.  Thank you, Twitter, I guess.

At any rate, the funeral was quite beautiful, with perhaps less of the sadness and more of the uplifting and celebratory parts, as would befit a situation where the person had lived a very long life, and for whom it can be said that they had won the battle of life.  Barbara Bush, who passed away at 92, certainly could have that said about her.  It did strike me how very not-sad the event seemed to be, and in her case, at her age, with her accomplishments, that was a good thing.

Among all the tweeting about her passing and the funeral -- and a lot of people should be ashamed for wasting bits and bytes on negatives, and for publishing them -- there was one wonderful reaction that got my attention.  It was from the Mississippi-based cartoonist Marshall Ramsey, and it alluded to a sad and defining moment in Mrs. Bush's life.

Back in 1953, the Bushes' second child and first daughter, Pauline Robinson "Robin" Bush, had died of leukemia shortly before turning four years old.  We had read over the years, and particularly recently, how the death of her daughter had affected Mrs. Bush so dramatically, as we might have readily assumed, but perhaps more than we'll ever know.  The Bushes began a fund for research into the disease, having gone to extraordinary lengths to explore treatment options in those early days of research.

As Mrs. Bush was in her final days and receiving palliative care, and the news spread about her being in her final days on earth, it was frequently noted that she had indeed lost a daughter 65 years back, and that she might soon be reunited in Heaven.

Mr. Ramsey apparently took notice, with this tweet:

#BarbaraBush was tough, witty, blunt, protective and beloved by many. But she also suffered one of the most painful losses a parent can face. I pray she and her daughter Robin are together today. No parent should lose a child.

... and with this cartoon, via the Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger:

I wear contact lenses, as I have for 49 years.  They are the "hard" kind, as opposed to the disposables and, as such, while they provide better vision than soft lenses can, they are also susceptible to a bit of dust getting underneath them, particularly when it's a bit windy or the golf cart is going a bit too fast.  When that happens, and I'm outside and can't remove them, it is really helpful to be able to generate tears on demand to flush out the microscopic debris.

I now have a pretty good image of the above cartoon engraved in my memory, subject to being recalled as needed.  I'm pretty sure I won't have a lot of difficulty with my contacts outdoors anymore.

RIP, Mrs. Bush, and Robin too.  And thank you, Mr. Ramsey.  Thank you so much.

Copyright 2018 by Robert Sutton
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