Friday, March 14, 2014

Are we troo busy for what really matters?

I certainly hope not.

Future shock.  I've mentioned it before.  Things change so rapidly it becomes almost impossible to keep up with it. It's a fast paced, hectic world full of stress and strain. To stop and smell the roses - as it were - is more important than ever. Otherwise you can easily get caught up in one of the many traps lying in wait.

A classic example - as most of you know I recently lost my wife to Huntington's disease. I most definitely had made the changes necessary to care for her during this ordeal - I have worked exclusively from home for over three years while being her primary caretaker.

None of that mattered in the days after she passed.  Nothing could have prepared me for the emotions and loneliness that followed.   A week or so after her death I got an email from my friend Dave - a fellow I have been friends with for 55 years or so.  The email was straightforward and heartfelt, expressing his sorrow over my loss.  But the last line was the kicker - he and Brian - another friend of the same length of time - the three of us were 5th grade classmates - would be out to see me the next Saturday. They'd let me know when they would arrive as soon as travel arrangements were finalized.  The next day another friend - Rick - emailed he'd be coming as well but because his dance troupe was performing on Saturday he'd be arriving on Sunday.

Dave is an architect - here's some info on an important project he and his firm helped spearhead - the fellow speaking at theionset is Dave.

Brian is a dentist with a very successful practice in Palo Alto  plus he is involved with the American Dental Association  in a big way and visits offices and meetings around the country regularly. He flew in to visit me in lieu of returning home from one such visit.

Rick is  retired from the park service - he is the Ranger Rick I've mentioned in the past - and he now has a Polynesian Dance Troupe - a  Hālau and is a successful kumu hula - spreading the culture of Polynesia - something that has always been his passion. Rick is the gray-bearded fellow top left.

These guys took time out of their busy lives to simply hang out with a grieving friend. Over 3 days we laughed, a lot, shed a few tears and basically they  got me going again. A clear example of what can be accomplished when you are NOT too busy to do what is important. What they did meant the world to me and rest assured if I am ever able to do something for them or any other of my real friends the lesson of what they did will not be lost on me.  In the terminology so favored by the youth of today - these guys are trully  BFFs  in every possible way. By the way - they all live in California.

Thanks again guys.


  1. You are blessed. Friendship is always a two way traffic and it is a measure of your character that you can get such reaction from your friends.

  2. True friends can’t promise to solve all your problems; but they can promise never to let you face them alone. Good true friends are worth more than Gold-dust.

  3. Yes, good friends. The ones who look out for you when on your knees. Unasked. And at their own risk. The ones who do not necessarily expect you to return the favour. Because - in friendship, in any relationship - there is no trade off.

    So happy, Shackman, that you had back up close to what is the loneliest time.


  4. You have faced tremendous pain and agony, Chuck. My heart goes out to you. I am there with you…
    blessings ~ maxi

  5. My first time here – I came over from a link at Ramana’s Musings blog. I’ll repeat some of what I commented on Ramana’s - and that is that this taking time for what is important has a lot to do with culture. In America the Puritan ethics still stands and taking time off for any reason is not as important as work. In my corporation in Georgia (I am retired now) staff often would rather get paid for vacation time than taking the time off. In France (I am a native of France) it is very different, and time off with family or friends is imperative each year (by law you get a minimum of 4 weeks of paid vacation.) The US is the only western country without laws for paid vacations – where people could really take care of what is “important.” You are lucky to have such good friends who gave you wonderful support – I have lost contact with my French friends along the years. My reason for coming to the US was travel – then I met my husband. But traveling is uppermost important to me and even with a career I managed to travel to many countries. My husband has been diagnosed with onset Alzheimer two years ago – we were going to work on the house – paint, remodel, etc. instead I take him to as many trips as possible, close and far, while we can (he cannot drive anymore either.) He has no memory left so I place many pictures on my blog so that he may recall some of our trips – that is more important to me than having freshly painted rooms.

    1. A good friend of mine married a French woman when he played professional; basketball in France and they shared similar attitudes with you. One thing about living in a country as big and diverse as the U.S.A. is there is almost always somewhere near to visit that is easily accessible. I heartily concur with your choices about things now - Enjoy your time together as best you can, Tomorrow offers no guarantees. And thanks for stopping by.

  6. I read once that the second year after a spouse dies is the hardest because often the support system stops working after the first year. Perhaps people think that after a year the person must be over their grief. So the second year is often harder than the first. But your friends sound like the kind of people who will always be there.