Photo copyright Heather, 2014; all rights reserved.
And right now, one of them is in a serious bind. She's a widow with disabling health conditions who has spent much of recent years caring for others; financially, she lives on the edge at the best of times. But now, she's alone, and she's been forced to move into an apartment even less expensive than the extremely modest one she was calling home until recently. She's far away from us, and across a national border, so we can't be there to help in person. And she's good people. Hell, she's a much better person than I will ever be.
Beyond being simply a good person — moral, ethical, mindful, compassionate — she's also a dedicated anti-torture activist. For years, this has been cause and mission, vocation and avocation for her. Her late husband, Dan, was a disabled VietNam veteran who had been tortured as a prisoner of war, and whose health had been damaged beyond repair by exposure to toxins while in-country besides. She bore witness to the war he was forced to continue to fight for the remainder of his life, a daily battle for body and mind, soul and spirit, and she was his moral, physical, mental, and spiritual support throughout. What she saw Dan face every day — what she faced with him every day — altered her forever. And now, though he has walked on, she has taken up the mantle in an even more direct way than before, becoming a fierce activist in her own right for the cause that was (and took) his life.
I'm talking, of course, about Heather, who many of you know as Chacounne.
Over the jump, read on to find out more about this wonderful woman I am proud to call kin, and exactly what it is that she needs to stay connected to the world. Less than $900 will keep her utilities connected; another $1,200 will replace her old, tired, and now-dead laptop with one that will provide the connectivity, stability, and enhancements she needs to remain linked to the outside world when she can't travel, and to continue her important anti-torture work around the world.