Winning the Lottery
Pandemics, natural disasters, world war, the randomness of two people meeting and both paying enough attention to each other at any given moment to be attracted to one another. Overall health and well being of people in the United States has improved significantly since 1933. Infant mortality is at its lowest point in history and exponential improvements in medicine ensure more people make it to adulthood. Childhood diseases that killed or crippled millions were largely eradicated in the years since Josephine died. We’re all lottery winners just by being born, and being born here and now. So I have a low tolerance for self-pity and complaining about relatively minor things. There are plenty of examples of people around the world born into a worse situation than us. There are plenty of people who aren’t born at all.
Josephine had four children. Paula died as her mother did of influenza. Her older brother Robert died in a car accident when he crossed the line driving drunk in Virginia. Her other brother died in Korea in the first year of the war in 1950. Only her sister Marcia lived on, helping raise her siblings from her father’s second marriage until she herself was married and moved away to raise a family of her own. I didn’t take the opportunity to ask Marcia a lot of questions about her mother, siblings or grandparents before her dementia stole that opportunity away from me. But I’ll think of them, back in 1933, and the hardships they endured and the virus that they succumbed to. I’ll never know all the random events throughout history that allowed me to hit the lottery, but I know about them.