Once upon a time, there was a woman. She worked in a hospital, and one day she was discarding a needle into the standard red box that used needles go into, in that medical-facility sort of way. Despite her great care, she accidentally grazed that needle, and it broke the skin. That needle had been in contact with HIV. Time passed, and she retired eventually, in ailing health. She named her son as her beneficiary.
In 2007, a 14-year old boy lost his mum, to HIV. His father was incapable of providing care, and the boy got lost in the foster system. As boys in that situation seem destined to do. The retirement office spent much time, years, in fact, searching for him, to no avail. Letters were sent, with no response. Files were created. Time passed. The last attempt at correspondence was in 2010.
In 2012, a woman sat in her office, just off the foyer of the office building, and watched as a 19-year old young man approached the front desk. He knew he was receiving a payment. He did not know the amount. The woman silently observed, as the young man opened the envelope to discover 5 years worth of retroactive payment, in a vast number that very few people ever see, all at one time. Agog, he stared at the check, processing the knowledge that, on top of that, he would receive funds every month. For the rest of his life. His voice, although small and shocked and humbled, carried to the woman in the office as she heard him say, timidly, “My mom…my mom left this for me?” and “I’ve been trying so hard to go to college…and now, I can.”
Some moments will stick with a person for a lifetime.
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So beautiful and bittersweet.