Keeping it in Perspective….

There are many things in life that we encounter that seem overwhelming, difficult or important at the time.  Then you come across a situation that puts it all in perspective for you and watch how others handle that situation with awe inspiring grace and it makes all your worries seem petty and insignificant.

I had such an experience today.  Flying back to the states for the first time in a year in not the best of health on not the most of luxurious of airlines I was in a moaning mood at best.  I first noticed this family of four children at the gate while talking to a fellow American I had picked up as a travel buddy on the last leg of the flight.

The little girl, not yet even a year and a half I would later learn, was crying non-stop and was being coddled by what we discussed had to be her grandmother.  I couldn’t help look around for the mother. Our conversation about this family led us to discuss how it must be so difficult to travel with four little ones in tow.  I said hello to the crying girl and she was curious enough to stop crying for a minute to smile.  Then they disappeared onto the plane.

For the first couple of hours you could hear this little girl crying and crying.  When I got up to go to the bathroom I passed the grandmother holding her and I stopped to rub her back and say hello again.  I asked her if she was tired from traveling,  The grandmother told me that their mother had died suddenly last Saturday from a heart attack.  Just died.  Collapsed and died.  No warning.  No pre-existing condition.  A mother of four, a YOUNG mother of four, and a young wife, poof – just gone.  It floored me.

A little later when passing them again I was speaking with the husband, now a surviving father of four children. His parents and her parents had flown all the way to Shanghai to help him with the trip back to the States for his wife’s funeral.  He was amazed at all the support that was there for him and how much strength he and his older two girls had found.  Their composure was incredible.  I couldn’t help but talk to him and think about their future and about what they had just been through.  He said they felt an outpouring of support from both loved ones and strangers.  The eight and five year old understood their mom had died, while the three-year-old boy understood she wasn’t there and the one and a half year old just didn’t really understand at all.

I saw them from a distance one last time after I got my bags. The five year-old tugged at her father pointing at the carousel, “Isn’t that Mommy’s luggage Daddy?”. Holding the little one, he stroked her head, “Yes honey, that’s Mommy’s luggage.”


  1. Perri,
    I don’t know how you knew this would be a post for me but you know me well even from thousands of miles away.
    I was one of those little kids. My mother died at the prime of her life in a car accident when I was only 6. It was her 34th birthday. Death of a parent at a young age changes who you are forever and makes you see the world with eyes of a sage person. The joy and appreciation you gain for life is palpable. The simple things are what the little ones remember forever because that may be all they have. I don’t have the trips to the mall or a theme park with my mom. I have such little memories but they make up the memories I keep in my heart.
    Cherish every moment. Be glad you are there whether it’s on the bus or in traffic. Appreciate the ones that are around you and love those you don’t even know. You never know…they could be memories that change another life.
    Thank you for sharing, Perri. Be well, Kerry

    • Kerry,
      I don’t know how I knew, but something told me to share it with you. I only sent it to a few chosen people.
      I am so sorry to hear that it hit home more than I could have ever anticipated. Thank you for sharing that with me.
      These are the things that should keep us present and grateful for our time with the people we love.
      Lots of love & light to you!

  2. Great writing Perri, and a poignant story. It reminds me of a saying that my wife and I often share – “You don’t know the whole story.” Whenever we are tempted to criticize someone or get caught off guard by someone else’s bad mood we remind each other that there is more going on than what meets the eye.


  3. Hi Perri!

    I’ve been dealing with the loss of Angels in my life, as we all do.

    Thank you for sharing this story.

    We all encounter unexpected struggles and issues in our precious lives.

    And the best thing we can do for each other is approach one another with love and realize we are all in this beautifully crazy thing called life, together.

    Love You!

    Lori Moreno

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  5. Really beautifully written Perri. What a tough road ahead for that family. I feel for them and will be hugging all my beautiful family a little harder and longer tonight in their honour.

  6. OMG Perri! You had to do it. It was so sad and inspirational and much much more! I will never look at a crying baby in the same way again. Boy, we never know what people are going through….most of the time we have no clue.

    What a message! Thanks so much for sharing, and obviously you have touched many globally with this heart wrenching story. May God Bless that family, meet their needs and keep them safe.

    See you in LV soon!


    • It was my 27th birthday the August before I was moving to Hong Kong. I had my closest friends up to my house in Vermont for the weekend and we had a party.
      It was great. Thanks for making me think about it. 🙂

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