Thursday, June 21, 2007

I'll keep my beautiful weeds, thank you!

How many times have you heard, read or even said "the grass isn't always greener on the other side"? I don't know about you but it's no new expression to me and I sure as hell know it's true.

He told me his name was Tom and had just turned 55. He and his wife were here to keep an eye on the contractor that they were using to build their new home that was almost completed. You see, he was a retired federal worker and his wife had always stayed at home to take care of the family but it was time to give up their old home and move into an area where they could enjoy their retirement. Tom had come into the funeral home alone explaining that while the builders were taking their lunch break he had decided to check out some local businesses; meet some locals. Since that time he came back once more for more idle conversation.

He was a tall, ruddy man who had a physique that obviously wasn't one that he had gotten overnight. He was brawny and probably well muscled. We talked about different things such as the last hurricane and what damage it had done to the area, how I liked living here, where my wife shopped for food and things like that. He went on to tell me that they were building in a neighboring gated subdivision; one that the true locals referred to as "hoity toity". When my wife and I had first come to the area we had looked there ourselves but quickly discovered that we couldn't afford it. Since then I've only been back to visit a friend or two or to put someone into the back of my vehicle. However, as we were talking, fleeting thoughts were running through my mind about how I wished my wife and I would someday be able to do something similar when the time was right. I was secretly hoping I would look so good when I was his age.

Just a few months later I got a call from a woman who started the conversation by explaining where she was from and that I knew her husband Tom. I immediately knew who she was and before I could ask her how Tom was doing she told me he was dead in their bed and he had told her to call me when she needed me. I was in shock. This guy looked as healthy as a horse. I gave my condolences and let her know I would be out to the house right away but told her as soon as she hung up with me she needed to contact 911. She told me there was no need but she had in fact called the Hospice nurse who had been taking care of Tom and she was almost there. Hospice nurse I thought? So apparently it wasn't his heart. When I got to the house and met her and her children she told me where her bedroom was and asked if they could just have another minute with him.

While I was waiting I expressed my shock to the nurse who proceeded to tell me that Tom had been terminal for about a year now. He and his wife both knew that he wouldn't be around much longer and that's why he had decided to get her settled in an area where she would be safe and have friends after he was gone. When I got to see him he was just a skeleton that still had skin on it. He didn't even resemble the Tom I had met just a couple of months ago which finally brings me to the green grass part.

It's not always easy for me not to want what I don't have. I would imagine that I'm not alone in this either. But reminders like this make me happy to have what I have, live where I live, be who I am. Grateful that I get to get up every morning and be with my wife and family. I know my time will come to an end just like everybody else but I can wait. It will happen soon enough. And until that time I just want to be the best I can be.

1 comment:

MedStudentWife said...

Its the eyes.. people are in the eyes