Reality Check

by Heligirl on March 12, 2011

in Beyond Mommyhood

I don’t have to tell you how easy it is to get stuck in a rut and completely lose focus of the bigger picture. We all go about our daily business and routine, some of us sleepwalking through the motions, be it going to work, running errands or keeping up with the kids. The days run together and if it weren’t for our calendars we might lose track of which day was which.

Then something comes along to wake us from our trance.

The earthquake in Japan and resulting tsunami was sure a wakeup call for me. I’m not in touch with anyone in Japan, but I still felt the gut wrenching fear as I watched footage and read about the destruction.

How would I have felt if I knew people there? What if that was somewhere closer to home, like Los Angeles or San Francisco, where I do know people? Or what if that was here in Seattle?

I can’t imagine the pain, fear, devastation people living in the center of this tragedy are experiencing. What would it be like to have the earth break beneath my feet then have a whole area I know washed away, and not have any idea where my loved ones were?

Suddenly my petty daily complaints of not having enough sleep, a fussy toddler, frustration over finding employment, feeling bored, or someone not returning a phone call so I can complete a writing assignment seem so very, very insignificant.

It is a shame that catastrophes like this need to remind us to cherish each day and moment we have on this earth as well as with loved ones.

As if that wasn’t enough of a reminder, I went to the local fruit and vegetable stand today that I’ve been going to since moving to this neighborhood more than six years ago. It opens around February and offers fresh, tasty stuff through late fall, then turns to selling pumpkins. There’s a brief break after Halloween until after Thanksgiving and they start selling Christmas trees. Then they close after Christmas until February.

I’d met and talked to the owner, Tony, more times than I could remember. He always said “˜hi’ and chatted me up a bit. He was a bit of a local celebrity. Everyone knows Tony.

Today, my first day back to the stand this year, I expected to see him. But he was no where to be found. I figured he took today off.

Then, as I was paying, I looked up over the entrance and saw a huge photo of him and the words “In Loving Memory.” Tony was gone. He’d passed away of liver cancer Dec. 4. They’d discovered it only weeks before.

I struggled to remember my last conversation with him. I couldn’t. I’d taken for granted I’d see him again sometime. And now he was gone.

This all has really made me think a little different.

I’m happy this week I got to spend time with many people I love in the helicopter industry, and have seen or been in touch with many others I love.

I’m grateful for Facebook and how it has brought so many back into my life and allowed me the opportunity to feel connected to so many in this busy time.

I must never forget that any visit, e-mail, Facebook wall post or phone call could be my last contact with someone.

I must never leave mad.

And above all, I must work to consider all I have to be grateful for. I am very fortunate and any time I get the urge to complain about my lot in life, I must remember those that suffer through tragedy and loss, be it their whole home town or a family member taken too soon. I feel like I dishonor them and God when I’m so focused on my own trivial issues.




Susan March 12, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it? After having travelled the world during my tenure as a merchant mariner, I am forever greatful for living in a first world country. It is awesome to have safe, running water, electricity, free education for my kid, a safe food supply (for the most part), good doctors nearby, etc. And I am greatful for my life and family.

We are still trying to get in touch with my Dh’s daughter (Japanese) over there, but she was very far from the epicenter of the quake, so we’re pretty sure she’s ok.
Susan recently posted: Seeing The Connections Again

Twitter: Heligirl
March 17, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Thanks Susan. I knew you’d have a unique perspective on this. I have friends who’ve done missionary work in third world countries that tell stories, which always remind me to be thankful for all we take for granted here. I hope you heard from DH’s daughter by now.

Susan March 18, 2011 at 10:47 pm

We heard from Dh’s daughter. She’s shaken up, but safe.
Susan recently posted: Seeing The Connections Again

Making It Work Mom March 13, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Wow! What a week for you. So sorry about the loss of Tony. It is really just amazing how there are some people that just touch our lives. I wonder if they realize it.

Well I think we could all use a little perspective.

Twitter: Heligirl
March 17, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Thanks my dear. It really is amazing who touches our lives. Tony’s death made me think of who’s life I may have touched and never really knew.

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