A couple of bad things happened to people I know this past week, which have preoccupied me to some degree.

The week before last, a woman from my mom’s group posted a request for blood donations. Doctors had found a tumor growing on her 2 year old son’s brain, and they needed to do immediate surgery. I don’t know the mom well; we attend the same book club. This is what I do know: she’s got a killer sense of humor, she’s very kind, and she’s smart. Anyway, the natural response to a toddler in trouble is to help. Cadillac’s got the universal blood type that the blood bank loves (sometimes they call him before he CAN make another donation, to make another donation), so I called him up.

“Give me the number,” he said, as soon as I said someone needed blood.

So he went down last Monday and did a direct donation. I saw the mom on Tuesday night, the night before her son was to go into surgery. My friend hosted a book swap and she stopped by to drop off a card to get delivered to another mom who was in the hospital, undergoing a procedure. That’s right. With all she has going on in her own life, she is still thinking about the comfort of her friends.

The sort of miraculous thing about it all was how they found the tumor. They’d volunteered to get brain scans for a study of kids in that age group, and there it was, floating around.

When I saw her, I told her my husband had done a direct donation and said she could tell her son he was getting Superman’s blood. My husband’s been hit by cars twice and survived; jumped out of airplanes; and everyone in his family on both sides lives until they’re about 100. So I figured his blood would be blood you would want to have. And it might make her son feel a bit better about the prospect.

The little boy’s surgery went well, and the doc got everything.

The next morning, I got other, sad news. A young woman that I’d worked with several years ago had passed away. I didn’t know her well, but I did know that she did everything under the sun with the time that she had. She had cystic fibrosis, and had had a liver transplant; she’d gotten pneumonia. We’d only talked about her liver transplant. I met her at a company where I freelanced, where I’d go into the office and work. I then was friends with her on FB, in the way of acquaintances. It was fun to read her updates. You saw that she clearly adored her family and friends; traveled every place she could; and loved her career, which was fledgling and incomplete (she was about to begin a doctorate program). You just got the feeling that if there were people like her in the world, things couldn’t be too too bad, overall.

Anyway, the events of this week have me thinking about how much we affect other people, even if our connections are tenuous. How even our seemingly inconsequential interactions can make a lasting impression.