Earlier this week, Jack and I decided to go for a drive to the very small town of Como, Colorado, to get away for a few hours and to hopefully see a friend of ours that we hadn’t seen in almost a year. The reason I say “hopefully” is that Rikki, our friend, has had quite a bit going on in her life and the past few times we’ve been in Como, Rikki hasn’t been there.
The first time we met Rikki was when we stopped in to the Mountain Man Gallery in Como to see what they had. The gallery is also the local post office which isn’t unusual in small towns. Rikki was very friendly and had a vast knowledge of the area and the history behind it. She was interesting to talk to and we learned a lot of information regarding local lore and places to visit.
Over the next five years, we returned to Como several times a year to chat with Rikki and see what’s new. There was always something fun to learn and new things to explore. The artists in the gallery would bring in their unique items to sell and it was just an interesting place to go to. Last year, however, things changed.
Rikki’s husband had been ill for quite a while and Rikki had been taking care of him at home. Seeing her was a little more “hit and miss” since she would often be home with her husband or taking him to a doctor’s appointment in Denver. Rikki’s husband died last August. After that, Rikki seemed a little “off”. Not depressed, but almost like she had a stroke, which she hadn’t. She was getting medical attention, but the doctors didn’t seem to know what was wrong.
We saw Rikki again on Tuesday and we were happy that we got a chance to catch up with her. The doctors finally decided that a fall that she had when she was taking care of her husband caused the problem. Rikki had hit her head on the corner of a wall when she tripped over her husband’s oxygen tubing. At the time, she had gotten it checked out, but later it caused issues. With all that’s happened, I really admire Rikki. She’s an amazing woman and has the best attitude of practically anyone I know. Let me explain…
Rikki’s husband has been dead for almost a year, but it was a long road leading up to his death and not only was Rikki his caretaker during that whole time, she was also running a business. Rikki’s speech now is really, really slurred, like a stroke. It’s very difficult to understand her and the doctors and therapists don’t know how much better it will get. Her right foot and leg don’t function properly and she has to be very careful when walking so she doesn’t fall. Again, the doctors and therapists don’t know how much better it will get. She drives herself from Como to Denver (about 80 miles each way) twice a week for therapy. She has a lot of bills from when her husband was alive that she now has to pay, as well as her own medical bills. In spite of all of this, when I asked Rikki how she felt, she said “I feel great!”. She was happy and cheerful, was interested in chatting, and was friendly to everyone who came in to the gallery/post office while we were there. Rikki didn’t complain about anything! Nothing! She just maintains her positive attitude and faces life with a smile. How many of us could say, “I feel great” and mean it if we were dealing with all of this?
The next time you feel a little “down” or think that life isn’t treating you fairly, take a look around! There are people everywhere who have lives that are so much more unfortunate than most of us will ever know. Be thankful for the good things in your life and know that the “bad” or “less than desirable” things will pass with time. Focus on what’s positive and not the negative. Be an optimist and not a pessimist. Instead of wondering if your cup is half empty or half full, consider that every day it’s overflowing if you’ll only look at the good things you have.
Have a wonderful day, week, month, year, and life!