Saying Hello and Goodbye to Friends

One candle - multiple lights. (Dr. Noorali Bharwani)
One candle - multiple lights. (Dr. Noorali Bharwani)

“I once heard two ladies going on and on about the pains of childbirth and how men don’t seem to know what real pain is. I asked if either of them ever got themselves caught in a zipper,” says Emo Phillips, an American entertainer and comedian.

This is just a joke so don’t get upset about it. But it also makes a point. Almost everything in life is relative. We can moan and groan about our problems but if you talk to your friend or relative they probably have a worse story which they don’t even want to talk about.

After my recent illness, my first real outing was to attend a friend’s funeral. I had known him and his wife ever since I came to Medicine Hat – about 29 years ago. They were the nicest couple I had the privilege to know. I have known his wife from her work and I knew him as a genuine dedicated golfer. Now he is gone but he has left behind wonderful memories of charm, dedication, honesty and so much love and affection for everybody.

My second story is about another friend. Last week, I was in Lethbridge for a checkup. My wife and I were rushing to find the clinic. We passed by a couple and I didn’t even look at their faces. Then I heard a voice, “Noorali, is that you?” said the man. I recognized the voice right away. It was my good friend James (not his real name). I have known him for as many years as I have been in Medicine Hat. He worked as a family doctor in a small place until he moved to Lethbridge.

We stayed in touch with our yearly golf trips to the mountains. Last year he could not make it because he was too busy. This year he could not make it because he is not well. And I could not go this year for the same reason. And how ironic that our paths should cross in a Lethbridge hospital corridor?

As a surgeon, I have seen lots of sick people. But life is different when it affects you. I ask the same questions to my doctors as my patients used to ask me. Lots of those question have no good answers. My doctors look at me and smile. There is so much in life we know and there is so much we don’t.

I gave you three examples (including mine) of people with different backgrounds, facing the same kinds of problems in life. Is there a message in there somewhere?

Talk to you again soon. Stay healthy, happy and smiling.

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