Column: Living my own version of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

Joe Webb
Posted 11/29/22

The movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” with James Stewart and Donna Reed gets shown frequently this time of year.

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Column: Living my own version of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

Posted

The movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” with James Stewart and Donna Reed gets shown frequently this time of year. It is ultimately a story of gratitude and hope that is timely during the holiday season. A desperate owner of a bankrupt savings and loan (Stewart) is facing ruin and becomes suicidal because of his troubles. What Stewart finds out ultimately is that his life mattered and his well being was important to a number of others. 

2022 was a difficult year for me personally. My mother passed away after a short battle with rapid progress dementia and almost immediately afterward I was diagnosed with kidney stones and renal cancer. It was an almost five month battle to get well but I was pronounced cancer free in July with a minimal chance for the tumor to return. I am blessed. 

I am also blessed because during the cancer battle and after I was pronounced cancer free I have been living my own version of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The difference is that I am not despondent or feeling quite hopeless. Far from it. What I am discovering is that my life matters to others and it matters to a degree that I did not appreciate before 2022. 

What has happened is that most frequently I will get a phone call from someone asking if I am all right and doing OK healthwise. When I tell them I am, there is an audible sigh of relief that I hear on my end of the phone. I have to tell individuals specifically that I am well and that I will inform them if I am not well. Once, an elderly female relative called me crying imploring me not to die before she did. I calmed her down and promised her that I would attend her funeral mourning her instead of the other way around. When I was sick many offered to help drive me to doctors appointments. Others wanted to fly out to Denver to assist me. I am grateful and blessed for all of those offers. 

I realize that what I have just conveyed is a little bit maudlin and Hollywood like but put yourself in my position. How can you not be grateful and smile that your friends and acquaintances are worried about you even when they have no reason to be? It makes you stop and think about things. They’ve shown me what my impact on the life of others has been. This small writing is my way of saying “Thank you” to them. 

Dear reader, if these circumstances are part of my life, I am willing to bet that if serious illness became part of your life that you would have those who care about you reach out as well. I would prefer to put my illness in the rear view mirror but focusing on it one more time serves a purpose. If there is a chance that someone you know is suffering from a serious illness, reach out to them like others have with me. Let them know that in this big human family that they are a valued part of it. If you are on the receiving end of such concern acknowledge it gracefully with regard to the concerns that others have about you. In this season of Thanksgiving and Christmas if more of that concern were shown, it would be something to celebrate.  
 
Joe Webb is the former chairman of the Jeffco Republican party.

Holidays, thankful, illness, column

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