Have you ever met a woman, a simple, not-successful-in-a-worldly-way woman, who stuns you with her goodness? That’s my friend Betty
Let me give you enough of a background that , when you read what she did, you’ll understand my reaction.
She and her husband Tom are dealing with Tom’s sudden lung cancer. That’s hard enough but keep in mind this is Appalachia. Not much paid work here but lots of unpaid work to be done just to stay alive. Betty’s job is as a home health care aide. Hard work. Long hours. Her “care” often includes doing yard work and major house cleaning.
They were already struggling financially. Now it’s even worse since not only have they lost Tom’s income, they have huge extra expenses including daily travel to the hospital an hour away. To pay for gas so Tom can get to radiation/chemo treatments every day, they recycled a truck full of aluminum cans collected from the trash cans at the local parks and freeway rest stops.
There’s more. Betty and Tom heat their house with wood – Betty hauls it in, piles it up then keeps the fire going and cleans out the ashes when she’s not at work.
Last weekend Tom had an episode that landed him in Intensive Care. Betty was up all night with him in the emergency room, caught a few hours sleep and then went back. He’s still in the hospital. She leaves for the hospital at 5 AM, visits with Tom from 6-6:30, heads home to start the fire to warm her house, then takes care of home patients then heads back to the hospital for the 6-6:30 at night visiting hours. She gets home around 8 PM to a cold, dark house.
What is she eating, I wondered? When does she even have time to cook? I know they don’t have extra money for take-out food. I worried she wasn’t eating. I thought I’d bring some meals over, then considered the neighbors. Maybe they’d already filled her refrigerator with meals. I called her to find out.
When she answered I asked, “Betty, do you have any meals?”
“No,” she said, “But I can make some. Who needs the help?”
She’s a stunner isn’t she?