Monday, November 01, 2010

A Life and Death Perspective

Over the past few weeks, I've had it a bit tough.  I haven't made any progress on my degree because I'm working long hours.  Dealing with a couple of customers and vendors at work has contributed to my stress load.  The loan provider suddenly decided to start up full payments on my loans again, plus 15%.  Navigating through their call center succeeds only in raising my ire. 

My car is gradually dying a slow death, but I still need to replace a few parts on it to keep it going while I figure out what to do.  I still haven't had free time enough to get back to Chicago to see friends like I had promised... seven years ago.  I can't even find time to visit people who live in the same state as me (give or take a border).

My dating life has been largely "not promising" for a long time.  My friend recently admitted that while she has more odious choice in partners, I always managed individual dates that were more awful.  Hooray!   I'd like to thank the Academy...

While there is much that's going right, I have plenty to complain about.  Under the wrong sort of day, I might even grudgingly admit that "things are difficult" right now.

Now for some perspective...

My parents had a small wooden gazebo built in their backyard.  It was originally intended to be a woodshed, built to replace the old three-quarters-eaten tumbledown shed.  The craftsman who created it was a family friend and between him and my father, they created something far too nice for a simple log pile.  That friend works as a contractor and is married to another family friend.  They tried to have children, but she has a medical condition which prevents it or something similar.  They were disappointed.

A few weeks ago, the man received a call from his long-estranged sister.  She was living in Germany (a surprise) and she had one child already (a two-year old) and was about to deliver the second.  A few days later a second call, from the hospital: the woman had given birth, but died from complications.  Children (including just-born infant) now without family.  German social system will claim them within days.  Please advise.

The man springs into action.  Drops everything to plan flight to Germany.  No passport in valid condition, he tries to wade through the State Department bureaucracy.  He's informed it could take some time to get approval.  He heads to the local office to begin the slog.  An official meets him on the front steps before he can even get inside.  The husband is presented with traveling papers all in order.  Who says government moves slowly?

He hops flight to Germany.  Brings back two kids.  He and his wife move into mother's house to avoid having kids in their small home.  Everyone tries to be not-so excited, because there's still one last hurdle and they can still have their hopes dashed.

Final court appearance is coming soon.  Opportunity for absentee fathers -- whoever they are -- to lay claim to children.  Fathers weren't in the picture, but still have legal rights.  Family trying to tamp down expectations, in case children so amazingly provided are also incredibly taken away. 

Each day ticks by as they try to raise two suddenly-parentless then suddenly-reparented children.  Breaths are held as they wait to figure out if the tragedy of death and legal wrangling and joy of children after no hope and the loss of family and the gain of family will all ultimately leave the childless with children of their own.

I don't feel as stressed about my car now, for some reason.

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