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Sunday, March 11, 2007

There is a difference between having a life and living it.

Bear with me on this post for a moment please. I will tie it up in the end with respect to the normal subject matter.

Last night, I visited with the husband of a friend whom I have known since high school; she is more sister to me than friend. He and his siblings all have sickle cell (in fact he has lost five siblings to the disease) but that is not what nearly killed him this week. The fact of the matter is, they still do not know what nearly killed him and whatever it is has only recently been halted in its attempts. He lays in an ICU room at St. Mike's in Toronto, isolated from everyone by surgical masks, surgical gowns and rubber gloves. He is, now, able to sit up and speak to you, laugh at jokes, sip soup through a straw and think towards the future. On Tuesday, he barely remained with us.

Our daughter, teenager that she is, thinks she is immune to the ills of the world and that she is invincible as she walks through it. I took her with us last night (we went down with another high school friend that is the closest woman to me next to my wife and daughter) in order for her to see the frailty of humanity. We are not immune. We are not superhuman. We are fragile and we can die. It was a first step in our intervention of her life so that she can truly live, not just be alive.

Promises were pledged between by friends and I in that room (of which only two can visit at a time) that we all intend to do our best to keep. Trips for the parents, gatherings with the families, communication all around. We now live within fifteen minutes of each other yet Pam and I have seen other friends over forty minutes away more often. When did we all get THAT busy? It's not right, it's not good; and it's not healthy. And if you saw me, and knew what I liked eating, you'd laugh that the "h" word came out of my mouth.

When Pam and I first got together, I was concerned about what my ex would do if we had a child and what my first born would feel like so I asked Pam that we hold off. 20/20 hindsight really sucks because I still feel very responsible for our current position today. What ifs go through my head all the time even though I know it would not solve anything and does not help. It was not only our daughter that needed a reality check last night; I got one in spades.

Without prejudice, without, malice and without ill intent I deliver a message to everyone listening or not: It just doesn't matter! It does not matter your concerns, it does not matter your hangups, it doesn't matter your help or lack of it, it doesn't matter your opinion, it doesn't matter your fears, it doesn't matter the statistics, it doesn't matter our chances... none of it matters.

What matters is that my wife WANTS this and she almost NEVER asks me for anything. This is important to her and, despite my wanting it just as much as she does, that is all that matters to me. Being married by a Rabbi was important to her so we went through the pain and process to make it happen. Being together was important to her so we persevered through many hardships to make that happen. Getting certain things we have was important to her so some things we worked hard together to make happen and some, despite her mild protests (because she really wanted it) I just made happen for her.

Having our child (and it will be OUR child no matter what) is important to her. That is all I need to know. Look for the announcement in the future because we will make it happen. We've done "life"; it's time we got back to living it. Anyone that wants to come along for the ride is welcome. Everyone else, adios. It's been fun, but we have a train to catch. There are no guarantees in life but I will not be sitting around in our senior years wondering what if. We will exhaust every avenue open to us and we will succeed. That is all that matters.

That's all that should, don't you think?

V.

3 comments:

Gil said...

You're absolutely right, that IS all that matters. Life. Living it. Don't let it pass you by. Carpe Diem. Do what you have to do in order to squeeze every freakin' moment out of your time. And remember, you can't take it with you when you go. I TRY (and I emphasize "try") to live by the following:
Il vaut mieux vivre avec des remords qu'avec des regrets.
Translation: It is better to live with remorse for what you have done, than to live with regret for what you have not.
Sending so much love to you both from Ottawa.

Skibum said...

As we grow older, and I mean in years only not in attitude, we do realize that living and enjoying your time is way more important than trying to please outside influences. There is a great story that I am sure most have heard where a professor puts some rocks in a pail and asks the class if the pail is full and they answer yes he adds some pebbles and they see its not. He proceeds with the demo and adds sand, same question same answer and adds water after that he explains to the class take care of the "big rocks" in your life and the small ones will take care of themselves. That is the reader's digest version but it makes a point I have never forgot. Decide on the big things and focus on that. V and P have done that and to them I tip my hat! S and I will tag along on the journey and help with the big rocks where ever we can.

Pam said...

Thank you, Gil and Skibum, for your support. It's huge for us to have our friends and family, both IRL and in the computer, wanting this as much as we do.

Gil - we get to Ottawa fairly often. We should arrange to get together the next time.