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Tax Carnival #24:
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Thinking about a friend

Wheelchair_2 A friend -- to protect her privacy I'll refer to her as J -- is recovering from a severe spinal injury.

I've known J for years, but only long-distance; in my previous life as an editor, she was one of my writers. We've never met in person, but used to talk on a weekly basis and got to know each other well enough to exchange some personal stories now and then. We stayed in touch after our professional connection ended.

I mention this because it's difficult enough to know how to relate to a person to whom you're very close when they're going through a devastating, life-changing event. So what do you say when you're talking to someone in such a situation and you don't really know that person that well?

I'm lucky because J makes such conversations easier. I always knew she was the consummate professional and a good person, and her injury hasn't changed that one bit.

She's keeping all of her friends, close ones and others like me, up to date via a personal Web page. J's hopeful but honest, and her openness smooths out some of the awkwardness that otherwise might exist.

J is on my mind today because, I am happy to report, she's making progress and starting a new phase of her rehab program. And on this beautiful day here in Austin, as I was reading about her latest triumph, a task that most of us complete every day without thinking, I wanted to blog about J. She's already overcome many difficult transitions over the last few months; she'll face many more for the rest of her life.

I could tie my comments to finances. I'm not sure what J's insurance situation is, but regardless, her medical bills are going to be gigantic. And she just mentioned that she's "dreading finding out how much all the meds I'm taking will cost."

But actually, I'd rather share the purely life lessons I've learned, and that I am still learning, from J:

  • Be thankful every day for what you do have.
  • Don't whine unnecessarily.
  • Do your best all the time.
  • Realize that sometimes, even your best isn't enough.
  • Don't give up.

All of these goals are easier to say than do. But when I find myself falling short at any of them, I think of J. If she can follow these rules, then I have no excuse.

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Very nice article. Sorry to hear about your writer.

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