Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Loss of a Farmer's Wife

A good friend of mine in Nebraska, whom I met when my father was ill, just lost his wife. He farms in rural Nebraska, and last night they had a blizzard that cut power. Blizzards this time of year involve very wet and heavy snow, and it often breaks power lines. His wife had been ill for quite some time, and needed a constant supply of oxygen. With the power out due to the blizzard, her oxygen machine quit working, so they used oxygen bottles while my friend went to get his brother's generator. On the way he got his truck stuck in a snowbank, but somehow he got the generator to their house. They got the generator started but the electrical output was sporadic, and wound up frying circuit breakers and light bulbs. Moreover the snow kept blowing into the circuits and shorting out. Around 4 AM his wife began having difficulty breathing and she passed away shortly thereafter. Much has changed since Willa Cather wrote about Nebraska, but I'm reminded of the harsh conditions farmers face even today on the Great Plains. My prayers are with my friend, and his son, and the rest of their family. I know the poor woman suffered for so many years, and in the words of my friend she "is at peace," but death of a loved one is always a tragedy. RIP S.K.

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