The Alaska Experience, Life and Death

May 28, 2008

I’ve been watching the Alaska Experience on Discovery.  My brother was asked by his boss about wanting a raise.  He answered, “If money wasn’t important, I would have been a cowboy like I always wanted.”

There’s nothing spectacular about the show.  But, it is about living a fantasy.  Can you survive on your own wits?  I think I could – on my own.  But, how do you keep a family?  It had to have been hard.

On tonight’s episode, Jeff Frederick left early because his dad was dying.  It made me reflect on my mother’s death after 3 years with cancer.  I was still in college and living at home.  I quit my job to stay at home with her in her final weeks.  That same brother was living 20 hours away, in the military.  He got to come home for a week for a final visit.  But, he wasn’t there to say a final good-bye.

That makes me think of the sacrifices people make for a better life.  My grandfather came to America when he was 17 years old – before WWI.  He didn’t speak english, had lint in his pockets, and was alone.  He eventually became a successful business man.  But, he didn’t get to go back to Italy for many years.  Imagine what he left and missed – births and deaths of parents, brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, cousins and friends.  All for the hope of a better life.  He gave up everything to be here.

On the show, Jeff made it home to hold his dad’s hand before he died.  He is fortunate and so was I.