When Tragedy Breeds Joy

, , , , , , | Hopeless | June 8, 2018

My mother was seriously injured in a fall while on vacation, in a city on the far side of the country from where her family and friends live. I left the next day to be with her. I arrived after a six-hour flight, tired and scared, in a city I had never been in. I made it to the hospital and found the waiting room while they finished her surgery. Once there, I realized it was nine at night and I had no idea where I would be staying. I knew I had a few calls to make, and asked a woman nearby if I should step outside to do so. She smiled but didn’t say much.

After a couple of minutes, another woman walked in and came over. She said that was her sister and that she didn’t speak English. I tried to talk, but just lost it. Between sobs, I tried to explain why I was there and that I didn’t know where I was going to sleep or much of anything else. She gave me a hug, and then went to talk to the staff at the desk. She came back with one of them who assured me I could sleep in my mom’s room for at least a few nights, and that it was going to be okay. The first woman sat with me until I was calmer.

At this point I realized they were there for their own tragic reason. It turns out one of her brothers had been shot in the head while working at his store. They didn’t know if he would make it or not. But in spite of all that, she made sure that I was okay.

We saw each other during the week I was there. She never failed to smile and ask how mom was.

Thank you to a family of strangers who reached out during their own tragedy to help someone who needed it.

And thanks to four of Mom’s friends and family who took a week each and flew across the country to be there with her. Her case manager said she had more company than some patients who live in the area and have family close by.

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