The Stranger

Sometimes when your faith in humanity is low and you are struggling to keep your head up so you do not drown in your own self-pity it is, at that time, that the deepest life lessons are brought forth.  Sometimes all it takes is one total stranger to bring you back to the abyss from which you were sinking.  This brings me to my favorite quote that I find so very powerful, so much meaning and  this past week I was touched by a solitary fantasy and in turn I hope my story changes one million realities…

“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.”

~Maya Angelou


In June of 2006 we celebrated our daughter’s graduation, what we weren’t aware of that only a few short months later we would be thrown into ugly world called cancer.  My husband had spent the previous year on the couch and our marriage had suffered as my ego believed deeply that it somehow must be my fault.  Cancer soon brought our struggles to light as the reason why my husband was so tired and cranky.  In early 2007 my husband completed cancer treatment but by march another disease would change our lives, Idiopathic Throbocytopenic Purpura or simply ITP.  My husband’s cancer had triggered an autoimmune response and his body began destroying his own platelets.  The disease made my husband very tired, highly unmotivated and threw him into a depression that, for five years, would slowly weaken our marriage to the point of me simply wanting to walk away.  Exhausted with being his caretaker, frustrated with being the one who had to manage all things in our home, I threw myself into this blog and into helping others.

August 10, 2012 was supposed to be a turning point in our lives, a make it or break it if you will.  All meds were failing to keep my husband’s platelets up and the shining answer was a splenectomy, he had resisted the idea for years and here we were finally at the hospital ready to end this disease that had picked away at our lives.  Human error at the hospital that morning would leave my husband in ICU for 5 days with acute pancreatitis.  We have been told by several physicians that the one standard in medicine is to never mess with the pancreas, my husband is proof of this fact as he has been in and out of the hospital for almost 4 months and has currently remained there for almost a month straight.

As his days at the hospital turned into weeks my frustration and  feeling of hopelessness began to make me feel very jaded and frustrated.  Thanksgiving was spent in my husband’s hospital room and after years of health drama I found myself wondering what it was I was truly thankful for.  The wee hours in the morning of the Saturday after Thanksgiving someone broke into my husband’s car stealing the entire contents including his navigation system.  REALLY?!  Was this some sort of evil plot against us? Kicked while we are down?  I tossed around the idea of sleeping in my Explorer and waiting to beat the crap out of the thief perhaps get a chance to chat with the thief and reason my plight with him/her.  I better not get started on that who thing or I will get myself worked up again.  I can only hope our things were stolen because someone needed it more than we did, I take comfort in that.

I had gained 30 pounds in the last four months from eating on the run as I have been challenged to hold down my full-time job, be at the hospital and take care of my house, I really had reached another low point in my life. I decorated for Christmas but couldn’t bring myself to purchase a tree not wanting to waste the money as the hospital bills flowed in like we had pulled the handle at the casino and the change was just pouring out except it is bills instead.  I simply did not have the energy to struggle with putting the lights on.  Christmas time has always been such a special time for my husband and I and unfortunately the year prior was a difficult one so this year was supposed to be wonderful and we were determined to make it wonderful and now, here we were.  HO HO HO

Earlier this week I had went to work all day and then had driven up to the hospital for a couple of hour visit with my husband.  On the hour-long drive back I passed by many Christmas tree stands and wondered if I should just get a tree and try to pull together a little Christmas spirit for my teenager and two adult children living at home.  Every year we have went out as a family to a local Christmas tree farm and the day was always so special, I secretly began hoping that the Mayans were right and that this would all be over December 21st. I continued on home and pulled into my drive feeling defeated.  I was also beginning to relate to Ebenezer Scrooge minus the gold. Bah Humbug! As I walked up to our door I was greeted by my children who then proudly rushed over by an adorable artificial pre-lit Christmas tree.  Huh?!

My first thought was that my children had banded together to scramble up a moment of cheer but I soon learned it was much deeper than that…

My daughter had shared our story with her close friend and co-worker, that friend shared the story with her friend and through the power of the internet a complete stranger in the town next to ours donated money for a tree.  My eyes filled up with tears as I stared at the brightly lit tree with my children standing around.  A complete stranger had given me more than just a holiday decoration, they gave me back faith in people who had slipped away from me.  My thoughts then turned to my own random act of kindness from long ago and I recalled standing in line at a pharmacy years ago and listening to a woman close to tears because she couldn’t afford the $78.oo for her young daughter’s asthma medication.  I stepped in and handed the clerk my debit card and said, “Please, let me take care of this.”  I will never forget the tears that streamed down her face as she quietly said, “thank you.”  The woman didn’t know that I had four young children of my own and that we could barely make ends meet, all I wanted her to know was that someone cared.  She told me she didn’t have the money and I said, “It doesn’t matter, just promise me this…promise me that one day that if you are able that you will do the same for someone else.”, she nodded.  I believe with all of my heart that one solitary fantasy transformed one million realities.  When you do something with such heartfelt intentions that one act reverberates and is heard everywhere and hopefully it reminds others to do the same.

To the person who thought of our family, you brought us some light to our dark world not only  in the form of  a brightly lit Christmas tree, you gave us a warm reminder that our world really is filled with people who care and that you really do get back what you give.  Thank you for restoring our faith.  It is true…


“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.”

~Maya Angelou


Much love,




6 thoughts on “The Stranger

  1. Have a very Merry Christmas because with all the trials, and tribulations you have endured, somebody really does care. And isn’t that what this season is truly all about?

  2. Hi Beth- Checking in to say hi, and greetings for peace in your family.

    With all the circumstances that surround you, I hope this Christmas season bestows new life, and happiness to you, and your loved ones.

    Don’t worry as much as possible, and look forward to happier times. They are somewhere wrapped up within all of this negative you have had to endure.

    Miss hearing your witty, intelligence while still managing to keep your sense of humor no matter what life throws at you!

    You know what Beth, sometimes it’s okay to drop the sense of humor for just a moment. Sometimes, it’s okay to let others be strong for you, while you gain back the strength you know, you have.

    Hoping you find that opportunity to manage a smile, if only for the moment. In the spirit of the season, I hope you somehow get to have a merry Christmas!

    • Dave,

      It has been a very difficult roller coaster ride and I had to reach down deep and pull myself back up. I usually bounce right back from difficult situations in life but this one was quite the struggle for me. I miss you my friend and thank you once again for helping to pull me back up.


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