The Cost Of Comfort

The news came via email and while it was not a surprise it still made me sad.

“I can’t make it tomorrow, my mother passed away after Thanksgiving dinner”

That’s not verbatim but it is accurate and that is enough to share some thoughts with you in rapid and perhaps random fashion.

What is The Cost Of Comfort?

I am jammed for time so this won’t be elegant, eloquent or as thoughtful as I might like, but that is not a reason not to share these with you.

I need some new dress clothes but have been dragging my feet about purchasing them for several reasons, not the least of which is I don’t have to wear them with any sort of regularity. That makes them low on the priority list, but there are two others that jump out at me.

  1. I am in between sizes. Diet and exercise are slowly but surely having an impact so I haven’t wanted to buy anything new.
  2. Time of year- cash is tight and there is a long list of things that are not wants but needs.

Vanity plays a role here. Most of my “gear” is worn and tired looking. The two suits I like best don’t fit and the ones that do are like said, worn.

So I ask myself about comfort, is my comfort all that important. The point of attending a funeral isn’t to look good for others or myself.

Yet, there is something to be said for wearing clothes that fit and don’t make me look like the homeless guy around the corner.

Quality of Life Now and Later

My friend’s mother had breast cancer and hadn’t been doing well for a while now. They live out of town so they do their best to come home regularly to visit and the cancer made it more important to spend quality time as often as possible.

I don’t think we are ever truly ready to say goodbye to our parents, no matter how old we may be. It is always nice to have mom/dad there to talk to.

No one expected things to move this quickly. They didn’t expect this to be a long drawn out process but they didn’t expect it to end so suddenly either.

Yet I can’t help but think about whether this might be a blessing of some sort. The quality of our entire life is important and many times we see the end reach a place and point at which dignity is a memory and pain a constant companion.

Sometimes I think about what we do to help prolong the lives of those we love and I wonder whether we are doing it for them or for us. What is the cost of comfort and whose comfort are we looking out for.

And now I am going to go fight the hordes to pick up that pair of slacks. The cost of comfort is mitigated by the comfort I will try to provide for a friend.

Don’t ask me if that is rationalizing away my own vanity or a reasonable explanation ‘cuz I am already gone.

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  1. Michelle Longo November 24, 2012 at 2:35 am

    Sorry for your loss. Hope you found what you needed. I’ve bought many a pair of needed pants that I put off buying for somber events. Sometimes that’s just the way it goes.

  2. Jack November 24, 2012 at 12:32 am

    Hi Carolyn,

    I read your comment while ensconced in the dressing room at the mall. It was a good reminder to take a deep breath and not defenestrate the obnoxious salesman and couple that were standing outside the door.

  3. Stan Faryna November 23, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    I am reminded of Paulo Coelho’s novel, Brida. Brida wants to live fully and she thinks she will do so by learning magic. There are two schools of magic in Brida’s world: the Traditions of the Sun and Moon. Early on, Brida is surprised to discover that both traditions have the same premise: we do not grow or learn without pain, disappointment and sorrow.

  4. Renee November 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I’m sorry to hear of your friend’s loss. Do what you need to be at your best for him.

  5. Greg November 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Sorry to hear of your friends sad loss
    There is a written piece by Khalil Gibran that supports the idea that we never really know happiness until we know sadness
    All you can do is to be there for your friend

  6. Vanita November 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    hugs to you and your friend Jack. I’ve shown up at family funerals in black jeans and a dress shirt. i was comfortable and able to easily run around and help as needed while still looking solemn. i have dress suits that i’ve worn for interviews and meetings, but i’m never comfortable in them, so i don’t wear them knowing i need to be comfortable. what do my extended family members think? if they’re thinking about what i’m wearing they must not be noticing whats going on around them. and can kiss my…

    • Jack November 24, 2012 at 12:29 am

      Hi Vanita,

      Ninety-nine percent of the time you’ll find me in a t-shirt, shorts and in need of a shave- it is my native garb and natural habitat.

      The only reason I care about the attire is because of the mourners and in this case I know my friend will notice. We have been friends for 30 years now so I don’t mind doing something to help out.

      There was a time when I spent my days dressed in a suit and I suspect it might be coming again. Not my first choice but not horrible either.

  7. Christie November 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Oh I hate shopping on pressure. Good luck.

  8. Carolyn November 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    I am very sorry for your friend’s loss, Jack. Losing a parent is incredibly tough, especially at the holidays.

    You’re wonderful to support your friend, but comfort is key. You will be miserable if you’re not comfortable. The day will be difficult enough without feeling physical discomfort.

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