A shipmate lost his wife last night after a long, long battle with cancer. He was able to be with her at the end, due in part to the compassionate folks in management at my company, who arranged for him to fly home while he was on the clock, when it first began to look like she was having a bad spell with treatment. While a small point, for people living with a costly and debilitating illness, the necessity to pay the bills often impinges on time spent together. I, and my fellow shipmates, are fortunate to be working for an organization that doesn't force us to choose between paying the hospital and being there for our loved ones when they need us.
The ironic part for me is that I was in the middle of a long-winded complaint about missing my wife when I heard the news. Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife is spending a week on a fazenda, a giant farm in the Brazilian backcountry, with no electricity or running water, or phone service, and I missed being able to talk to my wife fairly strongly last night. Nothing cuts through the bullshit like tragedy. It'll be another 5 days before I can talk to my wife and son, but so be it; for the grace of God, it's only an inconvenience.