Today’s column is not a humor column per se, but rather a glimpse into moments in life that mingle laughter and sorrow. But then, that is what life and living each moment to the fullest is all about.

People come, and people go. Some go quietly with nary a ripple, and some leave a gash in the hearts and lives of those left behind rivaling the deepest gorge.

What may or may not surprise you is the special ones tend to be ordinary people. They walk this earth, live their lives, and love their families with an open heart. Often, they are unaware of the difference they make in the lives of countless people.

A thoughtful suggestion or comment during a conversation often changes the trajectory of people’s lives. Folks go from merely existing to taking chances and walking paths they might never have stumbled upon without the gentle nudge from a caring conversation.

We call them ordinary in the sense that they are an integral part of making the world work. Such folks are not flashy movie stars or entertainers. They are not powerful men and women in business and finance. And, they are not necessarily wealthy in the way our materialistic society measures wealth.

They are what is best in humanity. Good, kind, and caring folks who enrich the lives of those around them.

Experiencing the long goodbye is a hellish process. When folks who have been strong and independent all their lives are stricken with life-sapping and incurable illnesses, watching them fade away before your eyes is torture. The difficulty level increases when the reality finally sinks in. Your love and best friend of many happy years will soon leave.

And yet, even in times of sadness Nature has the wisdom to balance overwhelming pain with moments of levity and laughter.

Whenever he drops the tissue used to wipe his lips, the clean freak swoops in and throws it in the trash. On one of many such occasions, the wife walked into the room and found him searching the floor and his chair.

“What are you looking for?”

“My tissue.”

“It’s in the trash. When it falls to the floor, I toss it,” she explained with a smirk. He ought to be familiar with her quirks by now.

The sweet man rolled his eyes. “It’s not like a few extra germs will hurt me at this point.”

Along with time spent with your beloved, the daily mundane things intrude.

As the lady of the manor removed a brightly colored plastic spatula from the dishwasher, she could not hold back a smile, recalling the reason the tip of the kitchen tool melted.

Her son insisted that cooking with a silicon spatula made the process easier. Soon after that conversation, a pair of new spatulas appeared on her kitchen counter. And the following morning when she walked into the kitchen, her son was cooking eggs.

“See how easy it is to cook with the spatula.”

Then, the brilliant man glanced down into the pan and noticed the tip of the spatula had melted and merged with his breakfast. No matter how hard he tried, the melted plastic would not separate from the eggs.

“I thought the package said the spatulas were silicon,” he groused with a wry smile as he dumped the plasticized eggs in the trash. The next batch he made was with Mom’s wooden spoon.

If you never noticed the plethora of food-related commercials, you do when your beloved has not been able to eat in four weeks. Actually, even longer since the dear man could not keep anything down.

Each time the visiting hospice nurse came, she marveled that at how good he looked, under the circumstances. During a recent visit, she smiled at him and said, “You are a tough cookie.”

“That’s because for years I ate two cookies with a cup of coffee for breakfast,” the tough cookie replied with a chuckle.

One tongue-in-cheek request he made is typical of his dry wit. “Spread my ashes near the shore so I can wash up on the sand and cover up some unsuspecting lady on the beach.”

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