Sunday, April 25, 2010

All Better Now

I finally bounced back completely from the flu. Yay!

The best part about being sick was: during the five days that I didn't leave my house, every flower in the neighbourhood burst into bloom. When I went home on Friday, the world was still made of dried twigs and dead grass. I came back out on Thursday and Presto! White and pink blossoms on every tree! Riots of yellow Forsythia! Magnolias! Tulips of the rainbow! A million golden dandelions against emerald lawns!

It was like Mother Nature threw me a surprise Welcome Back party.

Getting back to work wasn't terrible. I'd managed to do a lot from home, lying on the couch in larval mode, working on the laptop. This is only the second time I've been off sick since we implemented remote access to our systems, and it's a lot less stressful when I can keep on top of what's going on at the office. Going back is much easier when my e-mail in-box isn't overflowing and my paperwork isn't a week behind. Also, doing some work from home keeps me from going completely brain-dead. I bore easily.

I was determined to keep my weekend plans. Nothing crazy. Just a dinner out and then an improv comedy show with another couple. The couple consists of a woman I work with, let's call her Val, and her boyfriend. They are two of the most down-to-earth, warm and friendly people you could hope to come across.

I am a big fan of Val. She has had a life that could be classed as a tragedy. She has faced down what seems to be an endless string of losses, disasters, deaths of loved ones, long-drawn-out-illnesses of love ones, divorce, etc. If anyone could justifiably be bitter, jaded, depressed, and pessimistic, it would be her. But she will have none of that. She keeps her chin firmly up and enjoys life.

Currently Val's mother is dying of cancer. Not slowly, either. It's stage five, it's everywhere, and she could go any day. Val takes time off work to bring her to doctor's appointments, and bought her a beautiful wig when all her hair fell out. Her mother is the fourth person she has cared for during a terminal illness. It was only a few months ago that she lost her Nan. And she cares deeply. It's very clear that she does.

However, Val's not sitting by anyone's bedside drowning in tears. She's not falling apart. Well, maybe a little here and there. But most of the time she's pulling up her socks and living her life. She gets her hair and her nails done, and goes out looking like a million bucks. She goes to Bingo and wins like nobody's business. She goes to Karaoke. She came out for improv with us, and had a good laugh. Val is the most psychologically resilient person I've ever known.

Right now I'm observing her carefully, trying to learn all her tricks. I've tended to crumble under stress. I could learn a thing or two from Val. In fact, Ken and I are going to Bingo with her sometime soon to see what that's all about. I'll keep you posted.


DarcsFalcon said...

She sounds like a cool person. It's hard to keep upbeat in the face of circumstances like that.

I'm glad you're feeling better and that you had such a nice "party" for your return to work. :)

LL Cool Joe said...

I was reading how important it is for our well being to hang around positive people, rather than negative ones...Val sounds like she's good for you!

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Glad you're feeling better. I try to hang out with really negative people so I can always be the upbeat one of the group.

Ileana said...

Val sounds awesome! I love her spirit and yes, I would love to learn more from a woman like that! God bless her...and her mom!