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Real Life Stories Have Different Endings

Story ID:6288
Written by:Nancy J. Kopp (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Manhattan KS USA
Year:2010
Person:Friends and Family
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Real Life Stories Have Different Endings

I’m a writer and I can create situations that are dire, but I can write an ending where everything turns out just fine. That’s if the story is fiction. That’s the kind a writer can manipulate, putting twist and turns in it, heightening the suspense, and then bring it to a ‘happily ever after’ conclusion. Not that every writer does that. Some like to have a horrendous ending, something that stays in the mind of the reader, or even one that is bittersweet. The point is that the writer can choose the ending.

Not so everyday life or the non-fiction we write. The real –life stories I’m dealing with right now may not all have happy endings. Two very close friends are in the hospital. One had a knee replacement yesterday, but after a visit with her this afternoon, I feel pretty certain there will be a happy ending. Only one day after surgery, she walked down the hall with a walker at a pretty good clip. I told her therapist that by tomorrow she might try running. He said, “well, maybe a trot, if not a full run.”

I went over to a nursing home next to visit another good friend, who is spending some time there. It’s being labeled a “short term recovery” period. When I walked into her room, which resembled a Marriott hotel room more than a nursing home, she looked like the same person I’ve known for many years—as beautiful as ever. Her hair was coiffed perfectly, she was dressed nicely, and her skin glowed, her eyes were clear. But as we began to talk, the multiple strokes she had ten days ago became evident. The part of her brain which was affected controls language/vocabulary and memory. She gropes for words of everyday things, cannot always recognize people she’s known for years or even family members. Therapists work with her daily, and there’s hope that some of those brain cells will regenerate, but how many is the big unknown. I left with a heavy heart.

Another story with an ending I don’t know is about my son-in-law. He’s a tall, well-built man of 37. Symptoms of a rather frightening nature sent him to an Emergency Room Thursday afternoon and again yesterday. The second time, they admitted him to be monitored and to run some tests. As of now, he has received no test results, and he’s itching to get out of the hospital. I’m looking for a happy ending to this story, too.

We don’t know when it will be our turn to star in one of these real life stories. And we don’t know what kind of an ending that story may have. Age doesn’t seem to matter, as the two friends I wrote about above are senior citizens, but my son-in-law is in the prime of life. All we can do is put our faith in God and try to follow a healthy lifestyle. There are no guarantees, and I can’t always write the ending I’d like.

Somehow, writing fiction is a whole lot easier than living through these real-life stories. I know I’m not alone. Each one of us has to deal with health issues at some time, whether our own or that of our friends and family members. The best advice that comes to mind is almost a cliché, but it’s a good one. Take it one day at a time.