Tragedy teaches lesson in priorities


POSTED: Sunday, September 13, 2009

Anticipating the possible loss of one of your children is an indescribable pain for a parent.

I never thought I would be confronted with that possibility. My three children all grew into very healthy adults.

However, all that changed with a phone call two months ago. Our oldest son, who works hard and calls each day, said he felt weak and ill.

Since his wife was out shopping, I sent his dad right over. When my husband arrived, our granddaughter, a nurse with the Fire and Rescue Squad, had already assessed the situation and said, “;He needs to get to a hospital immediately.”;

My son was even too weak to tie his own shoes.

I waited anxiously by the phone, and the next time it rang the news came that our son was in the emergency room and it was serious.

My heart pounding, I ran out to the car. My hands were shaking as I turned the key in the ignition and drove to the hospital. The age of your children is insignificant. They are still your children at any age.

The prognosis was not good. Doctors gave him two to five years if treatment they prescribed did not work.

My first thoughts, of course, were, “;No that can't be, your children don't die before their parents. The doctors must have made a wrong diagnosis.”;

Now that the reality of it all has settled in, my thoughts are, “;Why did he work so hard for so many years?”; Being well-set financially for retirement is really not that important. Enjoying time with his family through the years far surpasses everything else he was trying to accomplish.

Our son plans to retire this January at age 50 and leave behind a full-time job and management of several rental properties.

We've all heard the phrase “;stop and smell the roses,”; but how many of us actually do?

We don't realize how priceless time is with each other until something like this happens. We need to enjoy every moment of each day we have together.

We all need to prepare for the future, but not at the expense of missing out on the present.


Joyce Russell is a former Hawaii resident who now lives in Walbridge, Ohio. She is the author of “;Hawaii Kids, Star & Ben,”; under the name Tutu Joyce and plans book signings in Hawaii soon. “;The Goddess Speaks”; is a feature by and about women.If you have something to say, write “;The Goddess Speaks,”; 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).