Her Children Will Rise Up and Call Her Blessed

January 28, 2019 · 1:38 pm

Irene Good

I have an OBGYN exam coming up, and a deck of 836 flashcards to study for it.  I review a few cards at a time during small breaks during rotations, and try to spend a couple hours every day reviewing them when I get home.

In between the cards about pregnancy and childbirth, I come across the cards for ovarian carcinoma.  I read about ascites, hypercoagulability, exploratory laparotomy, and CA-125. I can’t help thinking these are very inelegant bookmarks for the story of ovarian cancer. They don’t capture the anticipation leading up to diagnostic testing, or the frustration and disappointment when results are inconclusive.  They don’t explain how to make decisions about rehab and hospice care.

These flashcards are important.  One day, I’ll use this knowledge to help other families understand diagnoses and treatment options.  But for all their value, they never told me much about my grandmother.  After all, storytelling is not their job. It’s mine.

Irene Good

Irene Good

I type this in bed, wrapped up in one of my grandmother’s handmade quilts.

My earliest memories of her were of staying in her house on furlough.  She always gave us gifts of miniature flocked teddy bears. I remember pressing every single button on her electric organ, and going on long walks down the lane next to the neighboring farms.  I remember begging her to let me touch the electric fence, which she finally agreed to…on the condition that I only touch it with a long piece of grass.  I remember how her house always smelled like fresh laundry.

Naomi Irene's baby dedication

Naomi Irene’s baby dedication

My next memories are in Kenya, when my grandparents visited after my youngest sister was born.  I remember trying to teach her how to say Nakuru with a roled “r”, but the best she should do was, “Nakulululu!”  Another time, when my grandparents came to visit with my cousins, we all spent the night in a tent in Maasai Mara.  I remember my grandparents loudly whispering about cough drops late into the night.

Grandpa: *cough*
Grandma: “Let me get you a cough drop.”
Grandpa: “I don’t need a cough drop!” *cough* *cough* *cough*
Grandma: “Yes you do need one!”
Grandpa: “No,” *cough* “I don’t!”
Grandma: *coughdrop wrapper crinkling* “Here you go.”

I remember the cards Grandma sent on birthdays and graduations. I remember her dedication in the difficult years after Grandpa’s stroke.

Visiting Grandpa in the Hospital

Visiting Grandpa in the Hospital

After her own stroke in November, I was able to visit her in the hospital.  She asked me to pray for her to be able to go home, and that is what family worked toward until she came home on hospice in December.  Her priority when she got home from the hospital was to recruit her sons to help her finish Christmas cards she had not been able to send out and to pass out gifts for the great grandkids that she had already set aside and labeled.  She spent her last weeks at home with family, resting and playing Scrabble.

I wish I could have had more time with her.

Melvin and Irene Good's Wedding

Melvin and Irene Good’s Wedding

 

Is Your Pastor Saved Yet?

September 15, 2018 · 4:07 pm

I’m so excited to share that the book my father and I have been working on for the last 8+ years has been published!  This is a book about growing in faith and humility and learning to see others the way God sees them. It begins with my father’s struggle in school as a small boy in northern Pennsylvania, through his call to missions and the ups and downs of trying to follow that call, and ends as our family prepares to leave Kenya in 2001, after living in Maasailand for 10 years.

What I find most moving about this story, is how each experience my father shares opens his eyes to a new worldview that leaves him a different and better man. Thank you, Daddy, for your openness and vulnerability in sharing your story.

Is Your Pastor Saved Yet by Clair Good and Esther Good

The Blood We Share

July 2, 2018 · 12:01 pm

The Blood We Share by Esther Good Featured

I’m grateful for the many people and organizations that are working tirelessly to reunite separated families, and I’m grateful for President Trump’s executive order, which, though imperfect, was necessary.

Thanks to Poets Reading The News for sharing my poem, The Blood We Share. Read More →

MLK: Remembering More Than a Great Man

January 15, 2018 · 12:45 pm

MLK: Remembering More Than a Great Man

“Today in school we learned about Martin Luther King Jr., and how he came up with the idea that white people and black people could be together.”

This is Nati’s takeaway from a week or so of activities centered around MLK.  I am happy that he’s learning about Martin Luther King Jr., but he seems to have come away with the idea that MLK single-handedly abolished discrimination based on race. Read More →

Some Things To Be Thankful For

November 23, 2017 · 10:49 pm

AVSD

1. Reminders

I’m thankful to Shutterfly for sending me an email last week with pictures from 7 years ago. I’ve had a computer or two crash since then and thought I had lost most of the pictures of that fall. Read More →

Me Too

October 19, 2017 · 7:30 am

Me Too Esther Good

“If all the people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

For clarity:

When I was 6 years old, the local teacher exposed himself to me and asked me to show him my private parts. I didn’t deserve it.

When I was 8 years old, a group of schoolboys chased me into an empty classroom where their leader thrust his pelvis at me repeatedly and laughed as I perched precariously on top of one of the crumbling walls, cowering like a treed cat. I didn’t like it.

Read More →

Puerto Rico

September 27, 2017 · 8:00 am

Paseo Tablado La Guancha - Ponce, PR

In December of 2015, Yohannes and I went to Puerto Rico so I could interview for medical school.  I had already been accepted to the school I attend now, in Pennsylvania, but I really wanted to study in Puerto Rico for the following reasons:

1. I would get to improve my Spanish

2. The kids (and Yohannes) would get to learn Spanish

3. It’s warm Read More →

Concessions

August 14, 2017 · 8:31 pm

Concessions

Yes, I hear you.
No need to shout.
I know you thought that you had lost your voice
Or that we had all gone deaf
When you stood on your soap box preaching
And no one stopped to say, “Amen,”
Like they used to.

Read More →

Coloring Skin

August 12, 2017 · 11:23 pm

Coloring Skin

We come upon this conversation often – once or twice for each of the many half-finished coloring books hiding in all corners of the house.  Once or twice for each broken or lost crayon.  Lily colors her pictures with shades of purple, green, and orange. She colors little girls and princesses and fairies with hair that is sometimes red or brown or yellow.

But then she comes to the skin, and she asks me to help her find the peach crayon.  My heart catches in my chest as I help her look through the box.  I see the peach crayon in the corner, but I pull out a brown one instead.  “How about this one?” I ask.

Read More →

An Offensive Way In Me

February 7, 2017 · 9:13 am

An Offensive Way In Me

“I am still surprised when people talk about my children’s brown skin in a way that is categorical instead of descriptive. It seems unimaginable that this flesh of my flesh could be in some category that separates them from me, or in any category other than that of ‘Beautiful Human Life.'”

I adapted this article from a piece I wrote after the death of Michael Brown. Read the rest at The Mennonite.

 

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