Saturday, February 13, 2010

Terminal Beef

I write this today with a frustrated heavy heart.

There is this family that we know (one of their 2 children attends the same school as our sons) who's husband, who's YOUNG husband, mind you, has been battling Pancreatic Cancer for the past 3 years.

This father, a tremendous example of a dad. Even while terribly ill, as recent as last year, he would attend his son's scout outings and campouts. Sometimes he'd have to leave because of how he was feeling, but he still showed up. He still, in the midst of the battle he knew was terminal, still found strength and willpower to go with his one son, his only son, to as many activities as he could.

He followed that same pathway with his younger daughter.

Sadly, his battle ended and his new journey began about a week ago. He leaves behind a wife and 2 children and many loved ones, family and friends.
Too young.
Another wife part of a club that no one ever asks to be part of.

To add insult to everything, which is the reason for my "beef," is his wonderful sweet wife, who has followed his journey with emotional pain as he was met with physical pain, who like him, had a full time job, while carrying for her terminal husband and still managing to be a Mom to her children had one request:

All that she asked is for time off from her place of work. A corporate place of work. They refused to give her time off, paid time off, when her husband was at the "hospice" stage of his cancer. She managed to be there as much as she could, because she knew, towards the end of his illness, she'd be needed at home to spend his last few days on earth, with her husband.

Her job would NOT give her paid time off. What is wrong with this world???!!
I cannot tell you how sick that made me feel. Sure this may sound like a cranky tired woman complaining about everything, but I'm sorry. There should be more policies in effect for all these large companies that give support to families faced with a terminal illness, instead of making it more difficult for them.

She was told she could take unpaid (she had used her time off on other occasions to care for him) for a certain period of time, and after that, she'd either have to return to work, or apply for long term disability.

Your husband is on his few however many days or weeks with cancer, and you not only are dealing with that awful pain, but something like this.


Yes she stayed with him during his time on hospice. But as if this poor woman needed one other thing to worry about.

Makes me wish that somehow, something could change. That companies could learn to care more. To be a better different. Across the board! Despite the socio-economic (is that the right word??) situation of any family dealing with a spouse or child dying of cancer.

Isn't there something we can do?
Besides pray and wish and bitch and cry?

I don't know.
But what I know is that there are a lot of very cold and selfish people out there.


Happyone :-) said...

Oh that is such a sad story and unforgivable for her company not to give her the time off.
Thankfully all companies are not like that. My husbands place of work let him take all the time off he needed when it was my dad who was dying.

Jamie said...

I'm sorry for your friend. Sometimes this world is overwhelmingly unfair. All I can believe is that what goes around, always comes around.

Big hugs.

KathyA said...

So sad...and the business for which she works should be ashamed of themselves!

Martha said...

This is a terrible, unfortunate reality. Too many companies fail to acknowledge losses before they happen and only have "bereavement" policies...which usually amounts to a few days off for the funeral. It seems like with all the ridiculous laws at both state and federal levels, there should be something in place to help people who are going through similar situations like the one you've mentioned here.