Sunday, November 27, 2005

I have no problems

Every year our local newspaper teams together with the United Way and prints Holiday Wish letters in the Sunday paper. These letters are carefully checked out prior to their printing and represent both the best and worst of what the holidays have to offer. It is heartbreaking to read some of these letters, friends writing on behalf of friends, family members begging for help for a loved one. They ask for things as basic as payment for an electric bill so they can warm their home or a warm coat for their child. They are not asking for selfish things, more often then not they simply need food or help paying for medications. These letters are printed to give anyone who wants to the opportunity to adopt a wish, to help a stranger in need.

My mother and I have been going back and forth since dad died trying to decide what to do with his electric wheelchair. He never wanted to get it in the first place; he moaned and groaned about the insurance companies robbing the common man blind. He thought it was a tremendous rip off to charge $8K for something that you do nothing but sit on. We managed to get him to agree to it by promising him that once he no longer needed it we would donate it to the local veterans home so someone else in need could get some use out of it. He was like that. He was always concerned about giving back; he'd give his last dime if he felt that it could do someone more good than him. I agreed with his decision and promised him that I would do what I could to honor it.

After his death my mother had to face the harsh realities of widowhood. She found that after paying of the mountain of medical bills that were left behind, the house, and various other debts that had accumulated over the last thirteen years of medical woes, that there wasn't as much left of the life insurance policy as she had hoped. She doesn't want to have to work the rest of her life, and I don't blame her. She receives money from my father's pension and will soon receive Social Security as well, but things will still be tight for her. She looked into it and found that she could sell dad's electric wheelchair for about $4k... a lot of money.

So up until now that was where we stalled. We both felt that dad would want her to look out for her future, but there was the issue of the promise that we made. It probably sounds like a no-brainer but consider how much sentimental value is tied up in that silly piece of furniture. It, in a lot of ways represented the last year of his life... I can't look at it without seeing him sitting there.

So there it sat… Holding us emotionally hostage.

Until today when I opened up the newspaper and stumbled across this letter:

Dear Holiday Wishes:

I am writing in regard to a lady that lives in the same nursing home as me. She has only one family member so it is hard to get everything that she needs.
She doesn't walk or stand. I am hoping that you could help get an electric wheelchair. it would make her life so much better. That way she could leave her room and get outside on pretty days. It would give her so many opportunities to interact with her neighbors.
Thank you so much for what you do for needy people.

The letter broke my heart. Here I am complaining about facing the holidays when there are so many out there that have SO much less.

We have decided to adopt this particular wish and donate dad's electric wheelchair through The United Way. I don't know how we will part with it, but I feel good knowing that it will go to someone that desperately needs it. I think dad would approve. Mom will take a tax credit for the re-sale amount and life will go on.

We have so much more than we really need; I'm ashamed that it took this letter to remind me of that.


Blogger Homer Jay said...

Good for you and your mother. I bet your father will be smiling down on both of you. He has much to be proud of.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Andria said...

Thank you, I appreciate that. I'm glad that we have found a way to have the best of both worlds.

1:40 PM  

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