The sound of the rain beating down on the roof has always had a serene and reflective impact on me; much like a warm towel fresh out of the dryer, a handmade quilt on a cold wintry day or the glow and warmth of a fireplace and the aroma of its logs burning. There are just some things that always seem to resonate and warm the soul. When I was younger, I remember my Dad sometimes going out to the car just so he could hear rain on a “tin” roof and him falling asleep there for hours upon end, for like me, the rain resonated with his soul. And that’s how I grew up. My Dad and I used to watch clouds together and choose the one we wanted to take a ride on and where we thought its surprise destination might lead. We were both very in tune with nature.
But children don’t stay children and at some point we find the end of the innocence and no matter how hard we try to hang on or travel back, it’s futile. It’s naive to think we can stay in the idylic state of comfort that a good childhood brings but I was lucky enough to carry pieces of it with me through to adulting, like the sound of rain on my roof, or the sight of a particularly unusual cloud floating by and perhaps most profound, the childlike awe of my father who I continued to think hung the moon.
As is often the case, adulting moves one away from where they grew up, as was the case for me. And I found a career, married and had a child, all in the new place that was labeled home but part of me always yearned for the uniting of my childhood and my adulthood. Little did I know that in 2017, my wish would come true. My parents had decided to move from their home my grandfather and dad had built together and where they had lived for the past 50 years to a newly constructed apartment with two bedrooms. Although it was going to be a lot different than being at “home”, my dad seemed excited that one of the bedrooms would be his mancave and he could keep all his flea market finds of VCRs, scanners, watches and the like which he collected on our flea marketing trips together. I was so excited that they would be closer to me and that I would be able to spend as much time as I wanted with my parents again.
The day of the move, I awoke to rain. Needless to say rain was not bringing me serenity at that moment but I drove to the apartment to wait on the moving truck and my parents which were en route. I opened the weather app on my phone and it was showing rain for the rest of the day but as I glanced up from the phone, there was a huge rainbow across the field beside the apartment. I hurriedly changed my phone to camera and snapped a photo just as the rainbow was about to disappear. It was my sign that all was going to be ok. No matter how much I had worried about my parents having trouble adjusting from leaving their home of 50 years or the weather and its delay of the move, the rainbow was a promise as old as biblical times and again I sensed that childlike peacefulness and my worries were lifted….until three weeks later.
Imagine you arrive at the hospital to find the person you love most in the world has died. The emotions are so overwhelming and tortuous that one wonders how the body and spirit can handle it, but then somehow it does. Then imagine after that devastating news, you are later told there has been a “mix up” and your loved one is not dead. Then the emotions switch to elation yet you are still in grief and shock mode. Then it all turns to anger as you realize that you will have experienced “death” of that person two times in your lifetime. That is what happened to me at Baptist Health of Corbin, KY on September 21, 2017. I was overwhelmed. I was angry. I was thankful my Dad was alive. But I was unforgiving for the incompetence that left me in the deepest grief I had ever known. This was not a case of my Dad almost dying and being resuscitated. This was a case where a team of Health Care Workers mistakenly told me that my father had passed away. I did not deserve this. No one does. This was the worst day of my life yet some day in the VERY distant future, he would die. No one should have to experience a parents death twice. How could I possibly endure it again?
As I listen to the rain now, I think back on that rainbow and the promise it made to me and then broke, as my Dad died less than 24 hours after the mix up…and this time, it was really him. The rain today makes me miss my dad and wish he could be here to sit in the car and hear it. How did a rainbow get the promise so wrong or was I wrong to believe in the promise in the first place?
February 27, 2018
GASTON DAY SCHOOL, GASTONIA, NC
April 2, 2018
WHITE PASS JR/SR HIGH SCHOOL
NBCT, Teacher Ryk Stanton contacted me with his idea to use, May I Have Your Attention, Please? as part of the curriculum for his class. The students will read the play in class and discuss and then practice their writing skills by writing to me. They may ask any questions about the writing process and what inspires it or about the content of the play itself. I look forward to corresponding with the students and hope to be able to feature some of the questions and answers here …and even some photos if I’m lucky.
I want to thank all who have expressed condolences during this period of mourning. Most likely you have come to this page to learn of new plays and theatre resources and in time I am sure the focus will return to that as my writings are a very important part of my life. My attention at this current time however must be focused on the untimely death of my Daddy and seeking the truth and accountability for what happened to him. I want to leave you with two things today. I want you to see my Dad so you can begin to understand the loss of such a wonderful soul and I want you to provide you with a resource in the event that you ever experience a medical mistake at a hospital, nursing home or the like. First, meet my Dad and then you will see why I wholeheartedly support the American Patient Defense Fund.
(Music courtesy of Michael Taylor)
Meet, My Dad
If you have ever been shut out of the healthcare system or your voice silenced, then you know exactly why the APDU is so vitally important. The system is flawed and when something goes wrong, the patient goes from being what should be the most important person to the least important. I never imagined a month ago that finding the APDU would bring about such powerful answers and results in such a short period of time concerning my Father’s death. I now have answers that were withheld from me prior to the ADPU’s involvement. No doubt when you need the APDU it will be because you are at a very dark point in your life due to a medical injury or death of a loved one perhaps. It is then that you will appreciate more than words can express the premise that,” EVERY patient’s grievance is Legitimate..” Dr. Noorchashm is on the brink of building the powerhouse for the patient and the sad reality is that we all have a vested interest in this because we all will be patients. Don’t be afraid to share your story. I promise you, of the past 2 months of trauma and hellacious suffering that my family has endured, the APDU has been that light at the end of the tunnel and I can only adequately say thanks by sharing my testimonial of the significance of the APDU every chance I get. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
ADPU American Patient Defense Fund
My plays are advocacy for many issues such as suicide prevention, PTSD, domestic violence prevention and many other issues, but I use my writing and my voice to speak out in a variety of ways. Today, as a daughter and as an advocate for transparency in Healthcare, I am sharing my Dad’s tragic story. #Theatre4Change
Baptist Health Corbin:Death of Robert Rhoden
Simsbury High School in Connecticut recently featured, May I Have Your Attention, Please? as one of the student directed productions in their One Act Festival. The play was directed by Sophia Capobianco and stage managed by Ava Rooney. I hope to be able to interview them in the future and feature the challenges and rewards of student directing. Stay Tuned! A very special thank you to Anna Zuckerman-Vdovenko for the photos and permission to publish those here.
Everyone is as a star
glistening and lighting up the sky,
each with its own story and different age
placed carefully by our Creator
And at the appointed time, the star falls
and in that last moment of splendor
the lucky ones and star crossed lovers
get to catch a glimpse and make a wish
as the shooting stars descend back to earth
My eyes are focused, daddy
so as not to miss your last earthly moment of beauty tomorrow
but I want you to know
to me, you will always be the sun
until I too am a shooting star
Video courtesy of Ariel Williams
This intense drama features an emotional scene between a family, already strained tensions are amplified. What is done in the dark comes to the light and it’s never a pretty scene. Come on out THIS WEDNESDAY TO SHACK Auditorium. Doors open at 5:45PM, Play begins at 6PM!
May I Have Your Attention, Please?
Simsbury High School, Simsbury CT