I was running four and a half miles on the Mall at noontime last week with R and she was keeping me honest with 9:30 miles, the fastest I've run this year, when we ran by J, a friend and husband of a workmate. It was great to see him out there jogging because last year he was in a serious car crash that put him in the ICU for a week and necesitated an operation and he's been involved in PT ever since, slowly regaining his health.
Then upon my return to the office I received an email from E, a friend and workmate who donated a kidney to his sister last month. The operation went well, he reported, and his sister was better and he himself was up and about, taking long walks as he recovered.
Not so encouragingly, I took a call from a workmate who was going through a divorce after twenty years of marriage and guess what, his wife at mediation the day before had spent all day demanding sole legal custody and that he be restricted to seeing their two children, with whom he is heavily involved daily, to every other Saturday and Sunday and two hours on a weeknight once every two weeks. Tens of thousands of dollars are draining from their small estate as he combats the outrageous default position in our domestic law system of Mother Knows Best.
That morning I'd attended a funeral service for a workmate in her fifties who'd died unexpectedly during surgery the week before for her recently discoverd cancer. Life is certainly a series of steps forward, and backwards.