The great thing about when the proverbial hits the fan is that you can pretty much always guarantee someone is going through a much tougher time. I mean, I still have a gorgeous little house (at least for now, I'm hoping against hope I don't lose it) a good, reliable car and (touch wood) my health. The night I joined the ranks of the unemployed I was in the bath checking in with Facebook - as you do - when I saw it was a friend's birthday. I immediately went to send appropriate good wishes when I saw a post from him 'Thanks for all the birthday wishes, unfortunately I have to confess it's been rather shit! Unbeknown to many of us, he had been diagnosed with testicular cancer and had spent his 27th birthday completing the first week in a rigorous six-week course of chemotherapy. Yep - now that IS a bad day and as I walked along the beach the next day, I thought of Matt and wondered how I could let myself get so down in the dumps about such a teensy thing as a job when he had so much more to deal with. Jobs are a dime a dozen, they're easy to replace. Your nuts however, are not!
A couple of days later I heard of the sad passing of five month old Avery Canahuati, a beautiful baby in the U.S. who had been born with an incurable genetic disease called SMA. Her life expectancy was never going to be more than 18 months but her amazing family were determined that they would make the absolute most of every single day of their baby's life. By sharing their story (check out 'Avery's Bucket List' on Facebook) they have managed to raise almost a million dollars for SMA. Sadly I do know what it is like to lose a child. My first son Luke was born on December 16th 1994 - my 22nd birthday. He was seven weeks early and the plumpest baby in the ICU! But he picked up an infection called Strep B when I went into premature labour which few babies are strong enough to fight and he passed away at just two days old. That sucked. It was the suckiest thing which has ever happened in my life bar none. You never get over losing a child, ever and every birthday still breaks my heart 17 years later but at least Luke had a chance. There was still a chance that he might, just might pull through and I never gave up hope until all hope was gone. I feel so incredibly lucky compared to Avery's family. To give birth to a beautiful daughter and welcome her into your heart and your home, knowing that every day could be her last is just beyond imagining. I remember just after we lost Luke, a friend of mine gave birth to a stillborn baby girl and we actually argued over who was worse off. I felt that what she went through was much harder; going through labour and delivering your baby knowing that she would never take a breath. She on the other hand thought what I had gone through was much worse, to have a living, breathing baby only to have him taken away!
Things come in threes so they say and the final, slightly more light hearted 'thing' which made me see that I didn't really have too much to worry about in life was a Forum post by a 30-something woman entitled 'Bought a black Porsche when I was feeling low'. I thought she was actually joking, but no! Feeling down in the dumps, this dear lady actually went and splashed out on a $40,000 Porsche and is now paying the price, literally. She's now doing her utmost to pay it off and I wish her all the very best in her mission - in fact, I think she should write a book about it, I know I'd buy it! Jeez, last time I splashed out when I was feeling low I spent $50 on a jar of mineral make-up - I'm still beating myself up about that!
TODAY I LEARNED: There really is always someone more worse off than yourself.