Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I lost a friend

Today everybody in this country lost a friend, even if he/she doesn't know.

A friend who led successful efforts to upgrade schools, bolster civil rights, raise the minimum wage, outlaw discrimination and expand healthcare.

He was the one who wrote: "We will end the disgrace of America as the only major industrialized nation in the world that doesn't guarantee health care for all of its people." He believed all should have affordable and quality health care.

Like Moses who led the Israelites out of Egypt had to lead for nearly 40 years and never reached the promised land, he has led the American People for nearly 40 years to a universal Healthcare and never reached the promised land in his lifetime. But in both cases, the people went on and followed their leaders into the promised land. I would be glad and happy that I could certify and confirm this last remark soon.

It was Senator Edward Kennedy who died yesterday just three days after he reached the age of 77½, fighting more than a year against brain cancer.

I have to tell you another story.

A friend of mine died of cancer, too.

I thought a lot about him recently, he does not leave my mind, and I am pretty sure that I understand him now more than ever. I guess only I can look insight his thinking because I was so nearly attached to him and I observed him at work and in private when he invited me into his home or when he brought me back to my home when my car was broken down again.

He was a stranger here in this area like me, no one of our relatives living nearby. He got married in this area, and I got married in this area. He got stepchildren, growing up, I got stepchildren, being adults.

My friend saw when I had problems with my stomach that I stayed home using up my sick days and longer.

While having my Chemo-Therapy he urged me to go to work, to show up, to show, that everybody can count on me and to prevent loosing my job. I did not feel well, but I worked as much as possible and as much as it made sense to me. It did not make sense for me to go "to work" and sit there not being able to do something.

After my cancer treatment was over, I lost my job. I looked for another job for two years until I reached my retirement age, but I did not find any job.

Recently my friend had the same symptoms I had.
I am sure he did know what that meant for him.
He had seen what happened to me.
And he had a decision to make.

So he decided to do for himself what he suggested I should have done: he stayed at work - his sick leave days were gone - to show that everybody can count on him and to prevent to loose his job, putting his head on his desk when his boss wasn't around.

But I am sure he did know he will loose his job anyway.
I was healed and I lost my job.

So what should he do?
If he would survive after Cancer Treatment, he would loose his job - I was the example for this, and he would not find a job anymore - I was the example for this, too.

But there was a difference making it worse:
He had ten years until retirement while I only had two years until retirement.

I guess anybody will see as I see, his only viable option was to die.
He could not endure to be a burden to his wife and children - and to the company neither.
He did know that the company would have to pay most of his treatment until the Health Insurance plan kicked in.

I am feeling so saddened that my example may have shortened his life. I survived, because I strove to survive. He did not.

With a better Health Insurance situation he would have survived.



At October 8, 2009 at 6:45 AM , Blogger Frederick said...

It is sad to lose such a friend. I have seen first hand how employers get rid of employees who become sick. When my wife became terminal her employer found a way to drop her, leaving her without insurance coverage. The only "real" security I have found is self employment... I will never "fire" myself!


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