I signed up a personal injury case referred to me by a prior client the other day. The client, Anne, has cancer and is only in her early 30’s. She was injured while being placed into an ambulance to go to the hospital. Instead of the ambulance service using a stretcher to lift her into the back of the ambulance, they tried to push her into it. When they pushed her, her bones were so brittle, that she broke her arm. She later had to have surgery at Mercy Hospital because of the arm fracture.
Because she has no one else in her life, she has been staying with her sister. When I met Anne at her sister’s house, I was shocked. They were living in near poverty. There were about six people living in a very small, probably two bedroom house. Everything about the house seemed to be falling apart. I almost tripped coming up the steps to the house. The house had very old furniture, probably 25 years old or so, and a half broken TV. I really did wonder how anyone could survive in that type of home environment.
However, what I really found in that house was love. First, was Anne’s sister, who voluntarily agreed to take Anne in and has been caring for her since her disease began. There was also her sister’s boyfriend who was staying there. The whole time I was there, he was helping other people and helping Anne in her misery. Their children were extremely well behaved and you could just feel that these children had been brought up right. By material standards, they were in abject poverty, but you really felt that the children were learning the values of what is really important in life. One of them came up to me while I was taking notes and offered me popcorn.
I must say I was dumbfounded when I left that house. I kept wondering about all the emphasis our society and I place on material wealth, and position and power. Having the best house, the best furniture and the best cars and living in the best neighborhoods often defines success. But it really struck home to me, no matter what the situation, where there is love, that is all anyone really needs.
I couldn’t help but thinking back to another article that was in the Post Gazette recently about Troy Polamalu, the Pittsburgh Steelers outstanding football player. He was named defensive player of the year. However, even during Super Bowl week, he, thru his church, was trying to help to establish a center for homeless and poverty stricken families in the Pittsburgh area. I think he was quoted in the paper as saying he always was more comfortable with poverty stricken or homeless people, than he was with others, because he could relate to them. That message really struck home to me when I met with Anne and her loving, giving family.
I don’t know if we will win Anne’s case or not. I don’t know if we will get a recovery for the injuries that Anne has sustained or not. But I do feel extremely fortunate that the lesson of love was reinforced to me by meeting Anne.
God Bless you Anne and your wonderful loving family!!