I never wanted to meet Maura. In my limited perfectionist view she was a do gooder. At work she was the head of practically ever "drive" the Post Office could come up with.

One time I had actually seen her chase a guy into the mens room just to get another name for the blood drive. With that kind of zealousness we would have made an unbeatable combination in the world of drugs and alcohol thatI inhabited. That was never to be. Maura had another zeal that was a drug I had no desire to taste of,Holy Mother Church, Corpus Christi,whatever that thing was it and I had decided on separate career paths a while back.

I was nearing the end of my Postal Career when I first had a conversation with Maura. I had at one time a doctorate in the art of avoidance and had avoided not only Maura but her various drives. Now with only about 8 months to go before my age 55 with 34 years service licking stamp clue I was placed in a position where I couldn't ignore her. Maura was now working in the Express Mail Section of the Post Office.

We never talked until one day she directly approached me and asked if I could help her. Well I was flummoxed flabbergasted and bedazzled by her approach. I mean I had made it one of my career goals to avoid her with all the people manipulating skills I possessed and here she was standing in front of me. She had trapped me into at least making an effort at being polite. Well all she wanted to know was she had heard I ran competitively with a running club on Long Island and she was simply looking for a way to increase her aerobic capacity. It seems while on vacation with her family she found her self "running out of breath" and not able to keep up. I gave her a few tips and was happy she didn't want a pint of my blood for the blood drive to go along with it.

I'm down to my last six months when I hear that Maura had gone into Sloan-Kettering in Manhattan. Apparently her GP. had found some black spots on her lungs during her routine physical. Maura was a breast cancer survivor of almost fourteen years. As such he thought it wise for her to go and find out from the worlds best that on top of having a breast removed at thirty eight years of age,Maura had now been given the opportunity to drown in her own fluids. She had BAC. It's a cancer of the air sacs in the lungs.
Maura fought her cancer tooth and nail she was the most courageous person I have ever met in my life. There were many end of life details that she would ask if we could talk about because her friends,her husband, the kids didn't really want to think of a world where she was not a part of their lives. So we would talk. She planned her own funeral and we went over the list of hymns she wanted sung.

Maura would want me to meet her in church and we would sit together. She would pray to the Host that's left out on the.....well if you've ever been Catholic. She knew I never went to church and I asked her one time why we had to visit all these churches. She told me "John you go to A.A. because it makes you feel good and that's the reason I go to church."

I even did the Stations of the Cross with her. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life. This do-gooder that I had made fun of for the advancement of my own sick drug addicted agenda was sharing a part of herself that went beyond words. It was total vulnerability and it's fragility was killing me. This I think was the moment when she knew,not in a head way but in a more intense heart way that she was going to die.

I held her as she cried. She insisted we continue with The Stations of the Cross. Her pain was killing me and I did something I hadn't done in many years-----I cried. We hung onto each other and cried. I didn't want this women I had discounted as a postal tool to die. She was a do gooder and now there would be one less in the world.

Well Maura did die. Five years ago. I never returned to church even though I had told her I would try. I retired from the Post Office and moved to Pa. Maura. Well some days when I think that life bites the berry I go and look at some of the letters she wrote me when I had retired and moved to Pa. She always signed them "To my Little Brother" That always makes me feel decent when I read that.
lifeisforfree lifeisforfree
66-70, M
Aug 19, 2014