Wednesday, March 15, 2006
A Hard Lesson Learned
Sorry. Nothing funny today.

You know that old adage about not burning your bridges? Well - call this a tough lesson to take. Years ago, my husband worked for a man that he had personality clashes with. The only reason he got hired, was because this guy thought he'd help us out by offering him a job that paid more. I was pregnant with our first, and my husband was pulling minimum wage at his current job. He'd heard of my husband's need for a better job through his wife - who was my mother's hairstylist. (Are you following the small-town relationship here?) Anyway - this guy offered my husband an apprenticeship as a real estate adjustor. This man is a loud and abrasive sort, who's heart is geniunely in the right place. My husband can be a somewhat pessimistic person and does not like having to 'work for' others. They clashed. I won't give out all the details, but my husband quit. After he left, the guy sent us a somewhat inflammatory letter, and we ended up taking a step that in retrospect - we should not have done. My in-laws lambasted us, and told us we had been nothing but spiteful in what we had done, and in the future we would surely regret it. The phrase - "You just burned a bridge" was thrown out there. Out of this spiteful mean action that we took, we lost our good 'couple' friend, that just happened to be his stepson and not to mention my mother no longer felt comfortable using his wife as a stylist.

With the loss of the friends, I thought that was our lesson to be learned the hard way, and we moved on with our life. Over the years, we have attempted to contact the stepson, and tell them that we consider the past the past. But they never picked up on our offer of re-friendship. We never made an attempt to 'fix the bridge' with the former employer. But we did regret what we had done.

That bridge that we burned 8 years ago has loomed before us again, and it is once again uncrossable. This time forever.

My husband's former boss is also a volunteer firefighter. He was fighting one of the many devastating fires here in the Texas Panhandle. While driving a fire truck along an embankment, the heat-weakened ledge gave way and he rolled the firetruck. He suffered a broken back, crushed ribs, and severe head injuries. He is currently in the ICU at the hospital in critical condition.

We've had 11 deaths attributed to these fires so far, and for all intents and purposes, he will be the 12th. My mother was just up at the hospital. He suffered two massive strokes today, and is essentially brain-dead. From here on out, it is only a waiting game.

That whole family has been devastated by this and there is nothing my husband and I can do for them. I want nothing more than to just be able to go there and be there for them, but I know that since there were hard feelings on both sides after our 'action', we would not be welcome. I am sitting here and the family is weighing heavily on my mind. My husband and I feel terrible. This one little thing that we did 8 years ago - is still haunting us. I thought the price we paid was the loss of good friends, but now it has moved to the loss of good friends, and the finality of not being able to tell the person we'd wronged that we're sorry.

So I'm calling this a hard lesson learned. And it hurts.
posted by Norman at 7:19 PM | Permalink |


  • At Wednesday, March 15, 2006 8:11:00 PM, Blogger Dari

    you and your husband have a heart of gold, I wish all people have this heart. Hard lessons are hard to learn, in my case O offered somebody a helping hand for years and all what he try to pay me back is by trying to steal my family from me.

  • At Wednesday, March 15, 2006 8:18:00 PM, Blogger Lesley

    I'm sorry, Norm. And here's a blog-comment hug, too. Learning lessons the hard way is painful sometimes.

    I'll keep the wildfire victims and their families in my prayers.

  • At Wednesday, March 15, 2006 8:28:00 PM, Blogger Tammy

    Wow. There are no words.

    I'm sorry, Norm. That is a very hard lesson to learn.

  • At Wednesday, March 15, 2006 8:52:00 PM, Blogger momyblogR

    I'm very sorry to hear ALL of what has happened. It's a very sad thing. :(:(

  • At Wednesday, March 15, 2006 9:31:00 PM, Blogger Norman

    Hey guys... thanks. This is a hard thing to deal with here in our area. So many people have lost their homes and lives. Right now - I'm basically sitting in a ring of fire. The fires are burning in the towns all around us. The sad thing is, the towns that are burning are in areas where they don't have a lot of money. (Skellytown, Borger, Pampa) The Red Cross is setting up a blood drive, we set out a collection of clothing this morning, and we're looking through our belongings to see what we can do without so others can have something.

    This is a bad week for us Panhandlers. My husband's bosses condition has been changed to 'stable but critical condition'. They are still not detecting any brain waves.

  • At Wednesday, March 15, 2006 9:52:00 PM, Blogger Norman

    yikes... edit that last comment to read "my husband's FORMER bosses condition..."

  • At Wednesday, March 15, 2006 10:44:00 PM, Blogger Cori

    I'm so sorry, Norm. The helpless feeling in these situations is the worst.

  • At Thursday, March 16, 2006 7:50:00 AM, Blogger pack of 2

    Sorry Norm. Damn what a drag. Try to not let it eat you won't do you any good. Hope you're doing better today.


  • At Thursday, March 16, 2006 9:51:00 AM, Blogger Greg the Surly

    Norm, You've obviously learned, and given much thought to this situation. You can't punish yourself for someone elses pride. Thats their burden. It takes 2, and if they won't meet you half way, then they aren't worth it. If they were true friends, they'd be willing to forgive. Let it go.

    Or...go talk to him now while he can't talk back. insensitive? Probably, but not what I mean. It might feel uncomfortable, but give it a shot, you might just feel better

  • At Thursday, March 16, 2006 11:38:00 AM, Blogger patti_cake

    Honey at least you CARE. I will keep all of you in my prayers as well. What a tough situation.Can you at least extend an oliver branch to the son (your former friend)?

  • At Thursday, March 16, 2006 7:52:00 PM, Blogger Freak Magnet

    I'm sorry to hear that, Norm. Maybe Greg's right and you should just go to the hospital. You'd be surprised how some people forgive just when you think they never will.

  • At Friday, March 17, 2006 6:05:00 AM, Blogger Wendi

    I am so sorry

  • At Friday, March 17, 2006 4:11:00 PM, Blogger Nap Queen

    I'm really sorry, what a crappy situation. At least you have apologized and tried to make it right. Even if his family doesn't want to forgive you guys, you should forgive yourselves.

  • At Friday, March 17, 2006 7:46:00 PM, Blogger Norman

    You guys are all so nice. We've tried in the past to let the stepson know that we're sorry about the whole thing, but they don't want to listen. I don't want to go barging in on them now asking for 'forgiveness'. I want them to be able to grieve without us complicating things. In the meantime, we sent a card - and donated to the Firefighters fund (to help pay for hospital bills). But thanks again guys. I really appreciated you letting me "talk" through it.


  • At Saturday, March 18, 2006 7:44:00 AM, Blogger Snooze

    What an incredibly powerful post. I'm sorry you have to deal with this, but I think your story will have all of us examining what past mistakes we can try to rectify

  • At Wednesday, March 22, 2006 5:26:00 AM, Blogger razorbeck

    Bite the Bullet and re-extend that hand of freindhip! it may get chopped off but atleast you will know you did what you could and won't have to carry that guilt!

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