Seeing Humanity


Most days I am assaulted with examples of the worst of human nature, through the news and stories from the lives of people I know, and it often leaves me in despair for our future. But then something happens, usually something small, that gives me a glimpse of hope. This time it was something huge.

My Dad got sick. Not the kind of sick where you sit, miserable, with a giant box of Kleenex and do your best Camile impression. The kind of sick where if you hadn’t been in the emergency room when you stopped being able to breathe, you might not still be here. This is not something we’re accustomed to in our family. Stepping in a hole and busting his wrist in several places, sure. And who hasn’t tried to do bare-handed battle with a chainsaw before (well, okay, that’s just for my family)? We’ve dealt with Mom being sick, and we have a standard for that, but not Dad. Dad is the big ox who muscles his way through everything (with the requisite male whining, of course), and we’re just not prepared for this.

However, In the true fashion of my family, we circled the wagons and jumped into action. We’ve worked out schedules, made sure to keep after Mom, and we’ve pooled our resources to keep everyone and everything on track. We’ll have time to process it all later… And then it dragged on, and we started to feel the strain. And that’s when it happened. That’s when I saw the humanity come out.

Friends, from all over the globe, kept reaching out. With simple words of support and encouragement. With hard-won advice from their own experiences. With professional advice. With generous offers of help. With an ear to listen to me complain, or a voice to get the word out when it was all too overwhelming.

Co-workers stepped up, covered when we couldn’t be there, and offered support at every turn. Bosses told me to go home when I was too tired to keep going, and helped with arrangements for time off.

Nurses and techs going above and beyond to make Dad and all of us comfortable. Wonderful people from very diverse backgrounds working together every day and night, caring for their fellow human beings.

It’s just so overwhelming, this display of the best humanity has to offer, that I find it difficult to express the impact it has had on me. But we still have a long way to go, and I hope to eventually find the right words to describe this feeling I have. Right now, the only words that come to mind just don’t feel like enough… Thank you.

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