Thursday, March 24, 2011

Life Happening

"Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always."
-Rainer Maria Rilke

I got a phone call today from someone that I have not heard from a long time. She was very lonely and took a chance that my son would give her my phone number, and he did. Her son and mine had kept in contact over the years. We were friends when we lived in the Midwest. Her husband of many years had left her recently. She was devastated. We talked for over an hour and exchanged email addresses and Facebook addresses.

I remembered that she lived in a large house at a lake. She explained that they sold it a few years ago because her husband said he did not want to live there anymore. Slowly he sold everything and put the money in markets he thought for sure would prove to increase but he lost everything. Then one day he closed the bank accounts and just left with in one of their cars. He had sold his business unknown to her. He took every single cent with him.

Their children were in college but his parents agreed to help pay for their tuition and living costs as his husband's father was a successful retired attorney. She still worked as a special education teacher and now lived in an apartment close by the school.

Then the news came that stunned her. He had not invested the money as he said he did from the sale of the house. He had put it in another bank and cashed in his retirement including her half of the house sale. It was his parents that told her the sad news. Their son had a girlfriend and they wanted to travel. He also took the sale of the business.

The friend was calling everyone to tell them what had happened. When I knew her she was a friendly nice person who attended the same graduate education classes I did. I really didn't know her all that well as she was so involved with her family that she did not have time for anyone outside of the classes we were taking. I knew others in those classes and all of us often went to other functions that interested us such as art films, concerts and such but she could not find the time. She got her master's degree and was working with autistic children. To be fair, she was the only one who was married. The rest of us were either single or divorced.

She was surprised to hear that I had quit working at a regular job and just worked at home. She was still teaching especially since her income now was the only income that she had. Her retirement would be also her only income she would have. What really scared her was that she would be alone now. She had been married for so long. She was so happy she never quit teaching.

She had already talked to others that I knew back in school and was trying to re-connect with those she had not been as friendly with as she was so involved with her husband. She said she regretted it as he just dropped her when she got older and left her for someone younger.

This is not a real unique story and I was surprised that she remembered me to call me. She was trying to feel better by reaching out to people and in time she will. Getting a divorce is really hard, but it is really hard when someone who love and shared so much with including children does something like what her husband did. It is life that comes around and slaps you but my friend has a job and the support of her husband's family to help with her children's education. She will see in time, she really is very lucky in that.

Life is sad sometimes. I can still remember the sadness in her voice and even the anger. I have always known her to have some bounce too. I seen her with the students she works with. I remember her fighting the school administration for the right of her students to get a decent education. The school didn't even give them books as they were convinced they could be taught to read. She had to buy them herself and the parents cried when they saw their children begin to read and learn to write. They brought anything she wanted or many of them did. She will be alright. As for her husband, I am not so sure.

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