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  • Kelly Marks

Walking Each Other Home

I'm not sure if there's a more helpless feeling than when your child is sick, and you can't fix it. Or in this case, you're not even close enough to help at all, even by getting her a doctor's appointment or taking her to it. It's that awkward time when kids are old enough to start advocating for themselves, but a little help from Mom or Dad would go a long way towards making things better.


Right after my daughter moved back to college in August, she started experiencing pain shooting down her left leg. She cut back on her running; the pain continued. She was still logging over 25,000 steps a day, so she tried to limit her movements, all to no avail. The pain was starting to keep her up at night .


Finally she went to Campus Healthcare. Long story short: after a couple of visits, a round of steroids and several physical therapy sessions, the pain was not better; it was actually worse. The campus doctors referred her to a spinal clinic in town, but warned her it was notoriously difficult to get an appointment.


As a music education major, my daughter is required to take private lessons with the clarinet professor whom she adores. They sat down to begin playing for her lesson, and he asked how her leg was. Madi gave him a brief update and said she couldn’t get the clinic to call her back.


“Pack up your clarinet,” the professor told her. “We’re going on a field trip.” The professor put her in his car and drove her to the clinic. But that’s not all. He marched in and told reception she needed an appointment. He was told they could see her in a little over a month.


Imagine the receptionist’s surprise when she was told in a very kind but authoritative way that this was unacceptable. This was his student, and she could not perform her college obligations in this amount of pain. The receptionist was told to look at the schedule again and do better.


And at that very moment, a miracle occurred. That receptionist found that they did indeed have an opening for the very next morning at 9:00 AM.


Spiritual leader Ram Dass once said, “We are all just walking each other home.” When asked to clarify he went on to say, “Walking each other home is about being what I’ll call a human human.” It’s taking time to care about each other.


That’s exactly what this professor did. Now we have to realize this wasn’t an incident that took place in a vacuum. This man has a family, a list of classes he teaches, programs he runs, students he mentors, and he stopped everything to make sure a young student was ok when she might have been getting pushed around and ignored by the system.


Would we have gone to these lengths? Would I? I’d like to think so, but if I’m honest, I’m not sure. All I know is that I’m eternally grateful he took the time to walk with her.




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