Sometimes it seems that a few people are saddled with excessive burdens while others of us live free of tragic circumstances. I have known three women, each of whom has been beset with circumstances that would have put many people into irreversible depression. Each woman has found it within herself to live life productively, complete with burdens. Not one of them gave up in despair.
Dana was raised in an ignorant family that ran a motel in a small town outside of Toronto. She was a very pretty girl, and intelligent, but ignorant. Her parents had not focused on teaching her about life. When, as a little girl, she caught a cold, she was sent to her room until she got rid of the cold. As a young adult, she never realized that rain and snow came from clouds. At the same time, when she had to get out on her own, she took a sales job at which she was superbly successful, and lived quite nicely.
Earlier in her life, Dana had become pregnant and gave birth to a little girl. The child was the maximum burden to Dana, because she was severely challenged, physically and intellectually. The child lived in an institution, for which Dana had to pay every month. The little girl at the age of twelve had the intelligence of a four year old, and she was blind, as well. Dana traveled to the home every week to see the child, although the child did not really understand who she is.
Another wonderful woman who was dealt a bad hand in life was Penny. She was very pretty, comparable to Elisabeth Taylor, with a cascade of black hair and that sweet, pretty face of the young actress. She was the prettiest girl in the small city where she was born. Her family was a simple, working class type. As sometimes happens, the richest boy in town wanted the prettiest girl in town, and so they were married. There came a baby that was riddled with birth defects. The rich boy abandoned the pretty girl, and the pretty girl worked successfully and became the manager of a law firm.
Penny later met a younger man, fell in love and married him. She had a baby with this young man, and it was a happy, healthy baby. Unfortunately, the birth caused Multiple Sclerosis to emerge within Penny. The young husband left her in the lurch, Penny’s mother raised the child, and Penny limped along for a few years until she died. She was much too nice and too bright a person for her fate.
The third woman was Koko, a black girl born in Jamaica and moved to Montreal with her family when she was a child. As sometimes happens, her father abandoned the family and returned to Jamaica. Koko’s mother was a good, hard-working woman who worked for years in a hotel as a chambermaid. There were three daughters and a son. The son became a police officer in Montreal. One daughter is a teacher, another is a nurse, and Koko worked in offices, usually in advertising agencies. Over the years, her reputation for taste, intelligence and connections grew, and she became a television producer.
Before that phase of her life, Koko had fallen in love with a white drug dealer. They lived on a farm, and Koko delighted in driving around the fields in their four-wheel-drive SUV. There was a baby that did not survive. The relationship fell apart, and Koko returned to the city. She knuckled down, used her taste and intelligence, and flourished. Aside from her profession, she was also a very good, self-taught song writer, songstress, and guitarist. She could do some very cool kind of dancing, as well.
Koko survived some beatings from stoned boyfriends. She struggled silently to overcome the underlying problems that blacks have in society, and she succeeded. She owned a large home in an urban environment, and was respected by productions that took place all over the world. Koko even managed to learn to speak Italian. After the years of strife and success, Koko developed cancer. She returned to Jamaica to die.
When I think about it all, I feel guilty because my life, comparatively, has been a free ride on an open road. Could these ladies have suffered my share of tragedy?