Wednesday was a rather exhausting and emotionally draining day for me. I was up in Ottawa at Mitel for an intense day of meetings to transition various different efforts over to other people - as well as dealing with phone calls and email messages around potential options for what comes next. Around 5:30pm or so, I made my usual call back home to speak with my wife and daughter. I expected that we'd have the normal kind of conversations that we have around what's been going on in each of our days.
Before I'd even said anything about my day, my wife told me news that rendered me completely speechless (which most folks know is nearly impossible to do). She and our 5-yr-old daughter had spent part of the day visiting the hospital where the 5-year-old daughter of a friend of ours was suddenly brought into the hospital with a diagnosis of leukemia! She's now in there for a week undergoing chemotherapy.
In the face of all that, all my issues with employment (or lack thereof) seem insanely trivial.
We've known the mother and daughter for the two years we've been here in Burlington, and the daughter in fact started kindergarten at the same school as our daughter, albeit in a different class. While we haven't been able to spend a whole lot of time with them in recent months, they've definitely been part of our lives here in Vermont.
Needless to say, this was a complete and total shock.
From what I understand, the daughter started seeming rather tired and worn-down in recent days. But she'd just started at a new school and there's a number of other events in their lives that could cause stress... I'm not sure what exactly prompted the mother to have her daughter checked out, but the net of it was that a blood test on Monday came back with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and Wednesday the daughter had to enter the hospital for seven days of chemotherapy. This is just the beginning, of course. She won't be returning to school (germ magnets that they are) and will be beginning a very different life as she fights this disease.
I can't even begin to imagine receiving that devastating news.
Like my wife and I imagine many others connected to this couple, I'm just starting to learn about this ALL form of leukemia and what it's all about. Our thoughts/prayers/etc. will will certainly be with them and we're looking to do what we can to help them. Meanwhile, it's a stark reminder to me when I find myself worrying a bit about what comes next for me in terms of jobs, contracts, paychecks, etc.... comparatively those are all trivial problems. We're alive and healthy. In the end, that is what is REALLY important.
I'm still in shock.