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How Can I Possibly Complain?

January 13, 2021

How’s it going?

Oh, I can’t complain.

And if you did, who would listen, right?

Two of my friends just tested positive for COVID. I was in a meeting with them last Thursday, so I’m in quarantine.

That sucks. Not as bad as my friends who have COVID, of course. And, thankfully they are not likely to join the hundreds of thousands who have tragically died.

What was your worst day? I’ve had days were I was tired, exhausted even. I’ve had days were I was in so much pain, I couldn’t sit up. I’ve had days when I was barfing my guts out. I’ve had days when I was so depressed that getting out of bed was a challenge. Where all I wanted to do was crawl under my desk and hide. (Those days come far too often at times.) I’ve watched family members die.

All of those led to some horrible days.

What was yours?

Let me tell you about my friend Marty Hill. Marty’s been dead for several years. He died of cancer. A very slow moving and painful cancer. It took him almost 10 years to die.

Horrible, right?

Marty had a son. His son was just a little kid when he was diagnosed. Marty’s hope was that he’d live long enough to see his son graduate from high school. What a tragic race with death.

I can’t imagine what Marty was going through. When I first met him, he was only a few years into his sickness. He was a scouter. Our love of Scouting is what first brought us together. Marty didn’t hide his illness, but he didn’t advertise it either. To meet him, talk to him, you wouldn’t know that he was dying. He knew.

I lost of track of Marty for several years. I ran into him again at the premier of one of the Star Wars movies. A mutual friend was hosting it at a local theater.

Marty didn’t look good. In fact, I hardly recognized him. He probably weighed about 98 lbs. His clothes hung on him like a well dressed scarecrow. I sought him out to say hello.

Marty, it’s good to see you again. How are you doing?

I’m vertical. Any day I’m vertical is a good day.

Marty was as he had always been; optimistic.

Marty passed away not too long later. I attended his funeral. I wore my Boy Scout uniform. He had requested it in his final wishes.

Marty died in the summer. The summer after his son graduated from high school and was accepted to college.

I was thinking about Marty recently. And I realize that my worst days were not that bad. Certainly not as bad as his worst days. And in fact, probably not as bad has some of his best days.

Certainly gave me a different perspective. And a fond memory of my old friend.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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