Since Friday I've been trying to come up with the words to express what your outpouring of support has meant to me and my mother, but no matter what I start to say it all sounds like trite bullshit, just platitudes. Inadequate, tired, meaningless -- "you filled us with love" and "you gave us hope" and "I am thankful from the bottom of my heart" and even "there are no words" has become too trite for this immense living flood...
Maybe if I describe how I've been feeling, and how my mother has been feeling it will make truer sense.
Most of Friday I spent in bed, weak and anemic from bleeding, and later when I checked the computer and saw ALL OF THE MESSAGES and the posts and the immense comments, I started to cry. My 76-year old mother asked me what was the matter and I told her. She -- from what I could tell -- did not quite believe me that this was going on, or maybe she did not understand exactly, and it did not sink in.
I've been bawling on and off, stopping, starting again, then again, still weak but slowly doing better on Saturday. And then on Sunday the bleeding stopped completely, just like that (it usually does when things get better psychologically -- I know this from the last 5 years or so of this stress-bleeding, it hits like clockwork with really bad news and stops when I get some kind of reprieve. Usually it takes me a couple of days to recover and if I eat and drink enough the anemia and weakness disappears quickly enough, as it did now, I am about 80% back to normal).
As the blood stopped leaving me but the weakness remained, and I continued to lurk online when I could get up out of bed on Sunday, not able to type or post much, since only my desktop is attached to the internet (the ancient laptop is not) and I have to type standing up due to severe pain of sitting at a desk chair -- the pain of the new pinched nerve that echoes through the leg had added itself to my chronic bouquet, so I type on the desktop as little as possible, or use the laptop to compose on a better padded chair, then transfer the post or email over with a memory stick.
Anyway, as the TRUTH of the SITUATION started to sink in, there was a strange lightheaded feeling. A very unreal sense of floating between the usual thousand pounds of obligations (me on the bottom of a crushing ocean, chronic, eternal) and some kind of strange lightness of reprieve, impossible, unbelievable. I was mostly in a daze, unable to post, mostly unable to UNDERSTAND. Those of you who called me on the phone over the weekend probably could sense how sort of idiot-mode I was in, not making much sense. Also, as many of you know I don’t usually answer the phone since it's mostly collector harassment calls or telemarketers, so if I missed your call, sorry!
My mother... I kept on telling her the new numbers and the donations coming in have reached, and the auction. And while still during the weekend, she still did not quite understand, and was saying how good people are, and maybe it will help things now. Yesterday when a really large generous anonymous donation came it, it finally sank in to her, and she started to CRY. And she could not stop. And she kept crying and saying, what kind of blessed kind person it is that would do something like that?
Yesterday the plumbers gave us an estimate to fix the line, and I was scared and at the same time filled with the sense of "it's going to be OKAY," don’t worry, the universe of friends is taking care of this, unbelievably, impossibly.
The plumbers are working on the sewer line now. There are two huge holes in the back yard from yesterday, and today the large machine will come in that will crush the old sewer line so that they can insert the new one. I am waiting for them to get here in about an hour. And I am a little scared, (back of my head, one part of me is reeling that I am doing this major repair) and I did write them a small partial down-payment check yesterday, but I know that I can write the rest (the bank is still clearing the deposits now, and I told the plumbers I will finish the payment on Monday -- just to be sure the bank clears everything).
Meanwhile, my mortgage check for one month is written, placed in the envelope, stamped and ready to go. I am waiting to mail it, again for the bank to clear the other deposits to handle this payment. I will be using this first one-month's payment as leverage in my negotiation with the refinance process that is going to be happening (I will not give them all the back money in one lump sum this month, not unless absolutely necessary). They are still considering my paperwork that I faxed in last week, and this payment will show them I am ready and anxious and willing to get back on track.
And yesterday I went to the local small Russian grocery (they have affordable vegetables and fruit, unlike the supermarkets), and bought some food for us. Good fresh food. Mom and I ate fresh, thanks to all of you.
There is really nothing that I will ever say or do that will be adequate to repay your support and efforts on my behalf. First and foremost, my immense eternal gratitude to Rose Lemberg rose_lemberg and Deirdre Saoirse Moen dsmoen who pulled me out of the pit of despair and organized this, and spent precious days of their time non-stop handling it all, despite being sick with the flu! They kick-started me back to life, and you -- ALL OF YOU -- gave me the oxygen to breathe.
I am amazed and unbelieving that so many people could do so many generous things, for a complete stranger, in many cases. I could never name all of you but just highlights -- John Scalzi donated his awesome story and the wonderful publisher Bill Schafer of Subterranean Press matched the contributions. Friend and wonderful fellow author Alma Alexander anghara wrote a story just for me that broke my heart when I read it. My dear Norilana Books authors Sherwood Smith sartorias, John Grant realthog, Catherynne M. Valente catvalente, and numerous others, donated their books, rare items and stories. Other friends donated crafts, artwork, services, songs, tuckerizations, rare one-of-a-kind collections, rare out-of-print books. My dear fan and friend Anastasia Rudman reminded me with her loving donations that I have readers who need me to keep writing. Another dear friend Amy Sterling Casil, went out of her way in her generous help, or starshipcat who posted and discussed ways of helping. Complete strangers with kind hearts donated their last money, a dollar or two from near-empty bank accounts or PayPal accounts -- many of them close to my own situation of dire need... Authors and editors and agents and publishers and other fellow members of the SF and publishing community pitched in to post, or donate or in other myriad ways to help.
There is nothing I can do or say or promise that is adequate.
I can bow to you in the ancient folk Russian way -- bending over deeply at the waist, with my right hand over my heart.
The way maidens do in the old fairy tales.
Maidens bowing before kings. Before the great populace, the teeming multitude that is the World.
You are my multitude, and I am diminished into humility by your flood of presence.
And in your flood I am your instrument, from now and always.
Forever paying forward.
Love and Amazement,