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My Gift To Sandee

Sandra "Sandee" Gregg The Family of Sandra Gregg hide caption

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The Family of Sandra Gregg

I see no reason to lie about this:

If I did not have an office full of people relying on me and two kids at home doing the same, today is a day I would much rather have stayed in my bed with the covers pulled over my head.

I may have mentioned that a dear friend of mine lost her battle with cancer last week. Sandra Gregg was "put to rest" yesterday. I trust and hope she is indeed at rest, but yesterday was one of the saddest days of my life, and that is saying something.

She was one of the most luminous people you'd ever want to meet, really a blessing to everyone around her, and I know people always say that when someone they love dies before his or her "time," but you'll have to trust me when I tell you this is true. At a website set up to update her friends on news of her struggle with cancer and then the arrangements made for her, there were messages from all over the country. I was floored.

Her dad was a military officer, so she did have experience in honing that gift of ease in making new friendships, but I'm talking about people she met on a cafeteria line while she was on a graduate fellowship who she was in touch with years later. Our friend Gwen, who gave one of the most amazing eulogies you will ever want to hear (and I still can't believe how she was able to speak so beautifully and so eloquently, despite the pain — those two were so so close; thank you, Gwen) said "Sandee" collected friends like a black jacket collects lint. She couldn't have put it better.

One day, Sandee was wearing a pair of earrings I had brought back for her from a trip to Israel I had made years before. I was so tickled to see her wearing them, I mentioned it. And she looked at me like I was crazy.

Why wouldn't she be wearing them?

In a world in which people and things are so easily disposed of, Sandee was a person who saw value in everything, gave away nothing that meant something to her.

And, yes, I know what I am supposed to say: "she's in a better place," "her suffering is over."

But can you blame me for asking why she had to suffer so much in the first place?

And yes, many people are suffering in other ways. Many, many people are out of work right now in this country and around the world and they are scared and I bet angry. President Obama spoke to this nation through the press corps and his Treasury Secretary later spoke about how the additional funds in the bank bailout started by the Bush administration should be spent.

We decided to turn most of the day's program over to, well, you. We called back some voters whom we've met before and we asked them how things are going in their communities, and we asked Alvin Hall to answer some questions folk sent us.

We'd like to be useful to you. You can call it my gift to Sandee, if you want, but I think I can speak for everyone on this program when I say we want to be useful in these times of trouble. We wish we could fix troubled mortgages, find jobs and ease suffering.

We can't. We're just a little radio program.

But please, let us know if there's anything what we can do to make your lives better ...