Those of you who have been following my column for some time may remember a year ago when I wrote about my brother’s terrible accident, a fall from an extension ladder which broke both wrists and crushed his face. A year later, I am welcoming him as a “guest columnist” by passing on substantial parts of his Christmas letter, complete with some New Year’s resolutions which I hope we can all think about.
My brother’s words:
“Last year, in October, I had a serious accident with an extension ladder that put me out of commission for 5 months. Along the way of recovery, I have found that there are people and friends that mean so much to me… and I didn’t know it, or know to tell them. And I also found out how much it means to have family that loves you and is willing to sacrifice time and effort to help you heal.
Four months into my recovery, my fiancée was diagnosed with metastasized colon cancer. After a seven hour surgery, two month recovery, six months of chemotherapy and another major surgery in December , we now both know how well we can deal with each other’s infirmities, and how much our families love us. These are gifts that you cannot find in stores, cannot buy on the internet and could not have enough money to buy if they were available.
We have not done a lot this year, with both of us being laid up due to injury or illness. We go to work, do everything needed, and come home to crash on the easy chair, watching “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune” while we eat dinner, then watching whatever takes our fancy on TV until, exhausted, we trundle off to bed. The hiking, biking, tent camping and long walks of previous years are not on this year’s calendar.
But we HAVE done some important things: a major family gathering last year in November just after I got out of the hospital, easygoing trailer camping at the beach, in the mountains, at an RV park and more, and visits with family in California and in Idaho. Growing closer together (in ways that we NEVER dreamed of!) and finding “simple” things to enjoy together rounded out our year.
I would be remiss if I did not mention our lessons from the past year:
- Extension ladders are evil! Do everything you can to exorcise them from your life! The small cost of hiring someone else to clean the gutter, hang the Christmas lights or clean the chimney is nothing compared to the pain and expense I have incurred due to these evil things!
- If you are 50 or over and have not had a colonoscopy, go to your primary care provider and demand one immediately. The small cost and discomfort of the preparation are nothing compared to what we have gone through.
- Cherish your friends and family; they are the ones that help you through the rough times in life.”
To you, my readers, I join with my brother in wishing for you: “Let the New Year bring love and special events into your life, as it will be bringing them into ours.”