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  • Writer's pictureDrew Dotson

All is fair

Last week, after checking my temperature, the dental hygienist led me to my exam room.

“How’s your husband doing?” she asked with the best of intentions.

“He died,” I responded nonchalantly, voice as steady as can be. It’s impossible to know when the words will come out casually or when I’ll be caught off-guard – as though I’m the recipient of the news leaving my mouth. Grief is finicky like that.

Thanksgiving was the first big holiday without Ramón. The pandemic made things just unusual enough that his absence wasn’t as detectable as it might have been another year. However, based upon the quantity of leftovers, it was clear that Ramón and his appetite were missing. Despite the outrageous surplus of pumpkin pie, it was a good day.

I checked Ramón’s email today to see if anything important has trickled in, and I stumbled upon an email he sent while hospitalized in February. I am going to copy and paste a portion of it without editing anything, as much as that pains me. (Let’s just commend him for the semicolon usage.)

“The past year has been very soul opening. It's crazy but having cancer has actually been a good thing (besides the potential dying part). I've always sought perspective and now I have it more than ever. At times I can't help but think that life isn't fair but in reality it has been more than fair; I've been given more opportunity than most.”

As Ramón typed that, he was in a hospital bed, hoping to get into remission again following his leukemia relapse. Though he could have easily fallen into a place of self-pity, sadness, or even anger, he maintained his gratitude. These weren’t just words in an email, either; this was a way of life – one that I believe carried him to great heights.

Yes, there are plenty of things to complain about, like unrelenting spam calls and delayed deliveries, to name a few. However, there are infinite reasons to be grateful; sometimes we just have to stop and take a closer look.

Charming sunrises. Bountiful sunshine. Billowy clouds. Picturesque sunsets. Flowers blooming. Falling leaves. Christmas lights. Warm coffee. Lukewarm coffee. Coffee in general. Friendly waves. Delicious food. Extra pounds from said delicious food. Cleansing rain. Freezing rain. Microscopic snow flurries. A good book. A mediocre book. The ability to read. Access to education. Opportunities knocking. Opportunities yet to knock. The unfolding of every new moment. The power to approach life with a grateful heart. All is fair.

Happily hospitalized


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