Death is soft and comes to take you in its arms for you to rest forever. These were the really tempting and seductive words were running through Kevin’s mind as he resolutely fought back tears. All those romanticized verses about lady death and how she is a dark seductress ran through his mind. He had just finished a long day at work where he was told that he was not good enough to get that promotion that he wanted but he was just about good enough to continue working under those colleagues who had joined after he had.
As he got into the train for the long haul back home with a weary heart, he thought about Rita his wife who would be going through a severe depression as the negative results of their latest fertility treatment had just been announced the day before. Since she had quit her job a few months ago to pursue the “Baby project” as she called their attempts to get pregnant. He just did not want to go back home and face his personal failures after spending the whole day fighting his professional ones.
He thought to himself “I really want to die. I really do not see much reason to live. Nothing goes the way I want it to.” He just sat there feeling sorry for the whole thing and wondered when the misery was going to end. He almost felt like jumping off the train but could not bring himself to do it. Soon his stop came and he got down. As he walked the short distance home, he could feel the tendrils of depression creep in deeper.
As he reached home, he was surprised to see a car parked outside. He was a little worried about who it could be at this time. Just as he was about to ring the bell, he was startled to have the door open on his face. He looked up to see that it was his irritating, wise cracking cousin, Ronald standing there. As usual a silly grin was pasted on his face and he loudly yelled “Look who has finally come home” On hearing his voice, what seemed like a dozen kids ( in reality there were only three) came running out to swarm around him. Trying his best to hide his irritation, Kevin stepped in.
He saw that his wife was deep in discussion with Ronald’s wife Sheila. He hurried in worried that Rita may sink further into a bad mood with all the noise around, but was surprised to see that she was almost cheerful. She looked up and said “Ronald and his family are visiting and they will be staying with us for a couple of days. He has come here for a job interview.” Just as Kevin was wondering what to do about dinner, Sheila called out “Kevin, why don’t you go and change? I will heat up dinner for you. We have all eaten since it is pretty late, I hope you don’t mind.”
Kevin walked away feeling distracted and after changing he came downstairs hoping to watch some television as he ate his dinner. However that was not to be as the kids had taken over the TV. While he sat there at the table disgruntled about this, he could not help but notice that the food was amazing. The meat was tender and the salad was crisp and fresh. He attacked it with gusto and was soon starting to feel full. Sheila came to take the plate away saying “Here let me get that. You must be tired”. Kevin who always thought of Sheila as rather boring was ashamed at how kind and considerate she was being.
He went to bed that day wondering what would happen the next day. The next morning was a revelation; his wife was busy with the kids, while Sheila prepared a hearty breakfast and his cousin Ronald made coffee and kept the morning conversation going. Suddenly Kevin started to feel a little better. It was fun to have people around even if they were a tad irritating. The next few days with his guests in his home taught him some valuable lessons and here is what he learnt:
- Ronald had lost his job and he alone was responsible for providing for his kids and wife, yet he never gave up. The cowardly thought of dying never entered his head; instead, he plastered a smile on his face and forged ahead. His positive attitude and cheerful demeanor not only made things easier for him and his family but he also ended up getting a job.
- His wife Sheila was a simple yet strong woman who believed in providing quiet support. In times of despair, she turned to taking care of her family and those around her instead of sitting around feeling sorry.
- He also found that once he started focusing on things that were not associated with him, his burdens felt lighter. He felt good about helping others who were in a situation worse than he was in.
- He also realized that he should be grateful for the things he had rather than feel sorry for what he did not have. He realized that even Rita was going through a tough time and by talking things through with him and with Sheila; she was starting to be herself once again.
- As far as his job was concerned, it was simply not a good fit. He hung in there and hunted for a job that worked for him and soon he was happy with work too. He started taking baby steps with Rita regarding the baby issue and they decided to go for adoption if things did not work out within a year. Once the decision was made, both of them were much happier.
- Ronald and his family found a house nearby and continued to be part of Kevin’s life and he found that his interactions with them only enriched his and Rita’s life. There was much to be learned from Ronald and Sheila.
- He realized that though death may seem like the solution, living and fighting for the things he wanted was better. His death especially at his own hands, would only leave a mess behind and he did not want to be remembered like that.
Armed with all the lessons he had picked up, Kevin was soon able to find a better way of living. He knew that no matter what lay ahead, instead of thinking “when I think of my life I want to cry”, he should keep on working at it as life is beautiful.