TWO PEOPLE STRUGGLING OUT OF THEIR SORROWS:
The things that impacted Sarah Hunt's young life most completely happened when she was fairly young and also happened in a brief period of time.
Sarah, a lovely red-headed girl with beautiful green eyes was a petite 19 year old, when the world came crashing down upon her.
She'd been raised by a loving Grandma Annie and Grandpa Glen, after her Mom died in the childbirth that brought Sarah to life. She never knew her Mom but had pictures of her on her bureau always, and also had had any number of talks with Grandma Annie about how lovely her Momma had been and how much Sarah looked like her.
Sarah was engaged, after high school to her beau, Jack Liberton. Life was taking on a definite rosy hue for her during that time.
Then Grandma Annie died of a kind of flu infection, that was going around just then. The death took much of the life force out of Grandpa Glen and, during that one year, he followed his Annie into death also.
It left Sarah alone and only with memories. She made a decision for herself, after the death of her Grandma and Grandpa to sell their house and move into an apartment. She and Jack, at that point were serious about getting married and were planning to move away to where his job was, once they were indeed married.
She planned, at that time, a night out with the girls kind of adventure. It was a wild, giggly night for them but ended in a severe auto accident that two both girl friends, the driver and one other girl dead and Sarah unable to move.
In the time that came after the accident, Sarah was confined to a wheel chair, with only very vague hopes of ever being able to walk.
And then the trilogy of disaster of that year was completed, when Jack simply left. He broke it off with Sarah and decamped. He was gone. He apologized, in writing, taking an easy way out for himself, but told her that he couldn't see himself married to a cripple.
Sarah went into a time period of simply gray, gray living. She lived with dreadful thoughts, and was both alone, by choice, and downcast.
The one bright light in all those days for Sarah Hunt was her new job. She got a job as the receptionist at the office of Dr Greg LaGrande, a local and very prominent physician and surgeon.
The job had quite a positive effect on Sarah. She was well accepted by the nurses at the office, was treated with extreme kindness by the boss, Greg LaGrande, and it made a difference for her.
For Sarah the grayness faded, and she began to come out of her long time funk. She became again the charming, laughing and pleasant young lady that she'd been before all of the disasters of that year beset her 'round.
There was still a chink, a major one too, in Sarah's armor. She lived alone and comfortably in her first floor apartment. It was designed to allow her to get around easily in her chair, and with her walker, that she was using more and more, to try to find some strength and build it up by dragging herself around and forcing her legs to work a bit.
She lived alone and had an almost morbid dislike of the holidays.
In her lighter moments, she called herself 'the Grinch' but still never came around to liking Christmas.
Greg LaGrande, Dr. Greg LaGrande had been married at an early age to a high school sweetheart. She'd always had a dark kind of side to her that came out now and then. It was something that she'd tried to hide from Greg but hiding it, once they were married was no longer an option.
They tried to arrange their lives so that they could cope with Amy's dark times but those simply seemed to increase. There were lurking problems in her background that had been caused by a father who'd been abusive. Those problems were always kept buried until they surged and seemed to take over her life and sap her of her life force.
Amy LaGrande retreated into a kind of dementia that was extremely self destructive and simply gave up on any claim to reality.
Greg was forced to institutionalize her for what he'd hoped was only a time period. He met with Amy's doctors any number of times and the prognosis was never good, never encouraging.
As a matter of fact, Amy's grip on reality, which had grown so tenuous, was all but gone by this time. The doctors even told Greg, as kind of friend to friend, to get on with his life. There was never a question about Greg's continued financial care for Amy, he'd set that up and had a major account established for her, that allowed the bills to be paid. But for all intents and purposes, Amy LaGrande was gone, simply gone.
For a time period after Amy'f final retreat into the world that she'd surrounded herself with, kind of for her own protection, Greg too was one who shied away from the holidays. They simply weren't his favorite time of the year.
During an interview that Sarah Hunt went to, because a friend had inside information that Greg was looking for a receptionist, Greg was simply taken by the lovely red-head. He liked her attitude and her determination, it seemed, to get herself moving ahead in her life.
Sarah had made that kind of decision for herself. She came out of her funk and invoked the spirit of Grandma Annie to help her along. She surrounded her life, during that time, with the thoughts of the love that she'd had from her wonderful Grandma and Grandpa, and those thoughts helped to bring her around, to change her outlook and attitude.
The trials at walking had become frustrating and difficult, so Sarah, for a time period—-she told herself —- set those kind of things aside and simply became used to her chair and the walker at need, for the bathroom etc.
The interview with Greg LaGrande went extremely well and Sarah was tickled, when he offered her the job.
"Oh," she gushed at Dr LaGrande, "Dr LaGrande, I will do such a good job for you! Thank you for giving me this chance, opportunity. I'll make sure that you never regret it."
"Watch out, Sarah," he quipped at her then, "I'm known to be a slave driver!"
She giggled then into her hand and said: "You're known to be a teddy bear!"
She got red in the face then and began to apologize for what she'd said, what had blurted out.
He held up a hand, however, and said: "No, I'll take that as a direct compliment from my new, very pretty receptionist."
They ended the interview as friends and became even better friends, as the time went on in the office.
The choice turned out to have been a very good one for Greg. Sarah was well organized and gradually began to take on other functions, replacing the part time book keeper, who was moving from the area, and taking over that kind of responsibility too.
They functioned well together and made it a habit periodically to lunch with each other in one of the back rooms of the office.
Sarah began to keep Greg's schedule also, to keep him on track, and he was relieved to discover that he never needed to worry about schedule items, since Sarah was always on top of those things for him.
Sarah had been working with and for Greg LaGrande for most of the year, during which their relationship had broadened into a grand friendship.
Greg decided to take a few days at the holidays. He thought that it might give him time to get perspective on Christmas and all. He wasn't quite sure how he was going to do that but they'd agreed that they'd close the office for a few days at that time.
Sarah wasn't sure that she particularly liked the idea but wasn't about to say anything to Dr LaGrande. She didn't think it was her place. She knew, from experience, that she could weather the holidays at home. She shut herself in, get the food that she wanted and watch old movies on tv.
That at least was her plan.
They were finished that day, a Wednesday. The office hours had been short ones. Greg had a friend looking after patients in the hospital and was just going to go home and let down. It was his only plan.
He went into the reception area, where Sarah was still working on the books just then.
"Sarah!" he said, and she looked up and smiled at him.
"Dr LaGrande!" she said.
"Still here?" he said, "The Christmas holidays have begun, you should be off and celebrating."
"Don't think so," she said quietly and he wondered at her answer.
"No shopping, last minute or not?" he asked kindly.
"No," she said.
And then the old shadow of what the holidays never meant, or never could mean to her simply overwhelmed her. She began to cry. It was so unlike her that she surprised herself but the grayness of the holidays, right then, was overwhelming.
She cried, her head in her hands and he went closer.
"Sarah," he said softly, "I'm sorry if I..."
She turned to him than and put her arms around his waist and simply cried into his stomach.
"No, no, please," she said, still into his stomach, "It's me and these holidays. It's always been that way, privately for myself."
"Sarah," he said then, "Talk to me!"
"Yes, I'm getting your shirt all wet!" she said, forcing a smile.
He grinned: "All is forgiven."
And she did talk then. It all came up; it all came out. She discovered that she not only was a friend to Greg LaGrande but he was also a very patient and attending listener.
She told her story; the story of the terrible year: her Grandma Annie and Grandpa Glen, the girls' night out accident and its physical result for her, and the abandonment by Jack.
.... There is more of this story ...