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Why is it that some days can be so beautiful and other days be so horrible?

Most, if not all of us can relate to this question. I overheard an elderly lady ask this of an elderly gentleman the other day. Not only did it demonstrate that the topic of the conversation between these two, who had lived relatively long lives already, was of a serious nature but that I could fully relate to it from my own experiences in life.

In fact, is it not a universal question asked by all of us at one or more moments in life?

From the little girl in Somalia sitting beside her last dying relative to the parents of the 6 year old in the hospice for children with Leukemia and from the Star hockey player whose team just won the Stanley Cup to the little gymnast from China who just scored a perfect 10 on the vault the experiences of what is most beautiful or horrible are what help to define us.

Take a moment from you very busy life and just think about an experience that sticks out in your mind that was truly beautiful. Maybe you have been fortunate and there are so many to choose from. Maybe you have been less fortunate and there have been very few, if any. Now, think of moments that were truly horrible for you to go through. Hopefully, this is a very short list. If not, you are not alone.

If you are able to, share either a beautiful or horrible experience with others in your comments below. By sharing them you will be learning something about yourself while giving permission to others to share their moments with others. As well, you may see that you are not alone. In fact, there may be many others that share a similar experience with you. In the movie ‘City Slickers’  the three main characters share their best and worst days with each other. One of the characters shares an experience that he declares was his best day. When asked what his worst day was, he responds, “the same day”.

If we are fortunate enough to live well into our 70s, 80s or beyond, then we will experience many beautiful and horrible moments. Some will be shared with many others and some will be very private and not not shared with anyone else.

I would like to share one such moment here, not to induce any sympathy from anyone but to relate an experience that many have and will go through at some point in their lives.

When I was 17, my father died. He had endured a 7-year illness that had seen over 14 operations a number of amputations, terrible phantom pains, depression not to mention feelings of worthlessness, uselessness and embarrassment for the family who had to endure all this with him. He had left the house on many occasions to go to the hospital, whether it was for a scheduled operation or an asthma atttack. On one particular occasion, something was different. I remember it vividly to this day. The ambulance attendants knocked at the door in response to a call from me. My dad was in a lot of distress. While we didn’t know what it was this time, we knew it was very serious and we knew that he needed to get to the hospital right away. I held his hand as they prepared to take him away. I told him, as usual, that everything would be alright and that I would take care of mom and my foster brothers. I had two at that time.

As they wheeled him out the front door, one very vivid realization fell upon me like a giant boulder. My father would never come home again.

Several days later, I drove my mom and foster brothers to the hospital. As usual, I was anxious to see my dad. As usual, i was the first to leave the elevator to get to his bedside. However, unlike all the other times, I was not allowed to enter his room. Several orderlies came to me and held me as they told mee that my dad had died moments earlier.

Everything from that moment on changed. I didn’t realize it, but a large part of my life would be altered forever. I would not be able to share my successes and failures with him. I would not be able to get advice from someone who I and others had looked up to and admired for his integrity and kindness. I would not be able to see him at any future important moments in my life. I would need to care for my mom as she battled life-long depression, health issues and financial difficulties. I would need to get children placed into properly functioning homes where they could be properly nutured and taken care of. I would need to continue to work part time while finishing high school and continue to do so to pay the mortgage, bills and pay for my post-secodary education.

The whole experience had made me reclusive for the most part and fearful of large groups and gatherings, speaking in public, self-conscious and not very outgoing. While I was humourous and spirited around my friends, inside I remained guarded, private and confused about what to do with my life. It would define my life and what I was about for the next 10 years of my life.

I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia. It was the first time anyone from my family had accomplished it. The family home was paid off in full by the time I was 29. I would care for my mom until her death in 2005.

Some days are beautiful and some days are horrible, however life is a gift. I truly believe it. Some of us choose to fill our lives with helping others. Some choose to work hard in business to become billionaire tycoons. Still others choose to start wars, invent amazing machines or cures. Regardless of one’s choices in life, good days and bad days will occur. It is what we do afterwards that makes a difference in our lives and probably in the lives of others.

Have a good day!