Thursday, October 11, 2007

putting things into perspective

It's so easy to complain. So easy to find something in life that isn't just the way we want it, the way we planned it. Right now, in my personal life, the complaints run high. Between Bumpo's heath problems, the apartment complex we're dealing with, moving plans, and the like I can easily fill page after page with my angst. But I won't. I won't because there are other people out there that are dealing with so much more, so much, that it makes my problems look like petty, stupid things.

Everything was put into perspective for me today, while I was at work. Or should I say, I received my wake-up call today, thanks to one of the women I work with. She is the funniest, sweetest woman you'll ever meet, with the most awesome German accent you will ever hear. Her story is simple, but intense.

She moved to the United States many years ago to be with her (now) husband. He is an American. Together they have made a wonderful life together. They have lived in many exciting places. And have seen all the world has to offer. Somewhere along the way, they decided to move to Florida. Something about wanting to be closer to their grandchildren. They thought this would be where they would live out the rest of their days, sitting on the beach, enjoying the warm ocean breezes, big family meals on the weekends, and the laughter of little children running throughout their long deserted child-free home.

Then, he was diagnosed with cancer. He has been through treatment, was in remission for a very short time, and now the cancer is back. It has spread to his liver and they have been given the "There's nothing else we can do" speech. What they thought would be their home for the rest of their days, has become the place where her husband has spent the worst part of his life. So, they have decided to move. Move to a better place for her dear husband to live out the rest of his life, happy and carefree. So, while she is busy putting on this brave face for all to see, internally, she is about to face the biggest battle of her life. The battle of the unknown. The battle that entails trying to find a balance between making the time she has left with her husband memorable, while she tries to prepare herself for the day when he breathes his last breath, and ultimately the hardest goodbye she'll ever have to face.

Unfortunately, many obstacles stand in their way before they can take off for that dream location. She is dealing with a lot. She has more than one person can handle to complain about. Yet, she is the last person you'll ever hear complain. Instead, she is always the first person to ask her fellow co-workers about our day, about our insignificant problems that we have mentioned in her presence, and in turn give us solid advice.

Granted, I know that part of the reason she does this is because dealing with other peoples little problems gives her a break from the huge burden she's carrying herself, but she really is an inspiration.

On the outside she looks like someone who has it all. A great husband, a substantial nest egg, an awesome car, a great family, and job security. But what you don't see is all that she's battling with on the inside. That the reason she has that huge nest egg is because her husband made it his life goal after he was diagnosed to make sure she was set for life. Or that the very same nest egg has been seriously depleted because of his lack of work, the battles with long-term disability, and the high cost of maintaining his quality of life. Or that in order for them to be able to run away together, they have to sell their house first, in a seriously downed market, so that they can put that money back into their savings, back into her secure future. And, it all has to be done soon. . . . soon enough so that the man she loves most in this world can have his last dying wish. The wish of spending his final days with the woman he loves, on a beach in Mexico, with a margarita in one hand, and her in the other.