Reaping What You Know

Whenever I see anyone cry, I stop. I can’t help it. A person in that much apparent distress deserves a kind word.

Today was a hard one for me. It began being the twenty-first anniversary of my friend Bill’s passing which is what I blamed my melancholia on.

But there was another source of sadness to salt the mix…someone I love is taking their love away and there’s very little I can do about it.

Since my hearing loss, I’ve grown used to losing friends, but this hurts much more than the others because it’s been gradual, and sadly I can see it coming to its final end.

Between the two, I couldn’t shake my gloom so I thought of the only being on the planet who could make me smile.

Carmela the basset hound.

So I dressed in 10 layers and took off to Brooklyn.

There’s always the initial instant when she first sees me that even my broken heart has no say in, involuntarily lifting by its wounded ventricles.

And even though she licked my face and sat on my lap like Jerry Mahoney, I still left sad.

On the train coming home I sat very still never feeling more alone, when three women got on at 14th Street. Two fat African Americans in Addidas sweatsuits, and one tiny Latino lady with deep crevasses beneath her eyes.

She looked like an old, retired owl with shopping bags.

One black woman was singing with her iPod moving her arms like a Pointer Sister, the other, reading Valley of the Dolls. Yes, even in my despair I noticed.

When I got up the car was packed pushing me near the singing woman inspiring me to say quite genuinely,”It’s nice to be so happy.”

“I try my best,” she said, and don’t ask me why, but the tears I held back all day gushed moving all three women to comfort me.

The one reading put her hand on my shoulder while the woman singing said, “Don’t cry honey…please don’t cry.”

But who really got me was the wise old owl who said what I always say almost verbatim to whomever I encounter weeping…

“It will be alright…I promise…because all things pass.”

When I got off the train I turned, and there they were like angels without wings waving sweetly from the window.

I wasn’t any less sad, but knew I’d be alright leaning on the kindness of strangers.



About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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23 Responses to Reaping What You Know

  1. micklively says:

    You’ve got to convince yourself that “friends” who can’t cope with your affliction were never friends in the first place. Think of your hearing loss as a microscope that lets you see things that you could not previously. Just like a blind musician in reverse (I think).


  2. skinnyuz2b says:

    Susannah, I’ve had various close friends that have chosen to go from my life and agree that there is a great sense of loss and a hole left in our heart. The good news is that some of them come back as late as a couple of decades later. And then it’s up to you to decide whether to take them back and pretend nothing ever happened. So far, I always have. I’m sorry for your sadness. Like Annie says, “The sun’ll come out tomorrow …”


  3. Elle Knowles says:

    You pass so much love around Susannah. It’s nice to see some come your way at times. Sorry you’re sad. The wise old owl was right…all things pass…sometimes we wish sooner than later. Take care. ~Elle


  4. I’m so sorry you are sad. You don’t deserve to be sad. You are an inspiration to many others. I am glad that someone reached out to you like you would have reached out to others. (How about you reap what you sow?) The sun is shining here today. More sunshine a warming trend next week will help.


  5. Lynn says:

    I am sorry your heart is so heavy Susannah. Some days it is difficult to find joy & lightness, no matter how hard we try. Sending you warm hugs & wishing you a brighter day tomorrow my friend.


    • Thanks Lynn. I just came back from a Lincoln exhibition at the Morgan Library that lifted my spirits. History tends to do that. It reminds me that life’s short and everything passes. I appreciate what you wrote 🙂


  6. I’m sending you a hug, Susannah. I’m an hour behind you but it will arrive eventually.
    I’m so glad those women were there to give you the comfort that you give to so many others that you see. I’m praying for you, truly.
    Your friend,


    • I’m an hour behind you but it will arrive eventually…made me laugh. And there’s humor always at hand even when you’re having a meltdown. I remembered in the Stephen King book, On Writing, how he uses Valley of the Dolls as an example of really bad literature. That woman on the train was so engrossed reading it, I kind of felt bad taking her away from Neely, Anne and Jennifer…yes, don’t tell Steve but I’ve read it too LOL


  7. I read this and honestly could not respond because it hit so close to home. I had almost the same experience yesterday. I was down in the dumps about something at work that was weighing on my heart hard.
    Yesterday I went to Yoga class in the morning thinking this might help. During the class the instructor said “wow Lisa that is a great arch. You have such an open heart … always happy.” I just started crying and I too had a small group of angels make everything good again …for the moment anyway.


  8. Oh Susannah, if only I were closer, I would come, get you, hug on you, and do something to lift up your spirits. People can be so callous to invisible illnesses. Just because you cannot see it, it doesn’t make it any less devastating. My youngest was diagnosed with fibromyalgia when she was in 7th grade. She was seriously ill throughout middle school and high school and college. She had friend desert her because she did not have the energy most teenagers have. She did not have the endurance to go to the mall for a day. It broke my heart. Through college, she lived at home and stayed in her car between classes, not interacting because she did not think people would want to be around her. It was horrible to see this happen to her and it breaks my heart in the same way to read of it happening to you. Yes, this too will pass. A time will come when things are better. You give to so many. The kindnesses that you bestow on people will find it’s way back to you. Now, if only I could make you laugh until water snorts out of your nose…. hmmm…


  9. I find that more often than not I learn the big lessons from strangers. And that I never feel more alone than in a crowd. I empathize with being pushed outside the lives of my friends into solitude so thick despair nips at me and settles in my chest. Since my third back surgery and in response my inability to sit for more than half an hour has made the possibility of getting through social events disappear.
    You’re not alone, if that means anything at all.


    • Thank you…and I’m sorry about your back and hope you’ll be over the worst part sooner than later. I’ve always been a loner but not quite like what I’ve become…thank God for books and writing…they get me through. Thanks for what you wrote. Feel better.


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