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----- Original Message -----
From: Phillip J. Hardt <phardt1@HOME.COM>
Sent: Sunday, December 12, 1999 10:42 PM
Subject: Throwing things away

[Paragraphs added for clarity.]

Several [sic] weeks ago was perhaps the hardest time I've had yet with HD. No, I
didn't have a bad day physically, I just had a bad day because of what I
finally did. Don't ask me why, but I've been holding onto all of my favorite training books, computer manuals, etc. from when I was working. My wife wanted the space that these were all taking up for her sewing so I finally relented and threw everything away. Boy was it ever hard to throw away, not only all of those fond memories, but also, any last hope that I might ever use them again. I think this was the hardest, to finally admit that I would never use them again so I might as well let my wife use the space for whatever she wanted. I finally threw in the towel, so-to-speak, about ever being gainfully employed again.

As T. S. Elliot wrote so aptly in his poem "The Hollow Men" I realized that I was leaving the productive employable part of my life behind with a "whimper" instead of a "bang." Going out unexpectedly on disability was only supposed to be temporary, wasn't it, not permanent like a well-planned retirement? I don't
really know why I had held onto these last mementos for so long. Maybe I was half hoping that I could use them to be a consultant and show everybody that I was able to still pull my load.  Maybe I really didn't believe that I was going to get progressively worse and worse until I suddenly realized it was already happening. 

I thought I was invincible and that nothing could take me out in the "prime"
of life! It may have even been that I secretly hoped that since I could no

longer use them to be productive, maybe my wife could to help her get a good
paying job, since lean manufacturing and the six sigma philosophy of zero
defects are still very popular with all businesses today. Alas, to my
disappointment, she wasn't even remotely interested in these "causes" that I
had championed over the years. I guess I don't blame her, she's been busy
raising our eight children. Although she does have a college degree she has
always felt that the best good she could do was teaching our children in the

When I decided to go back to school and get my BA and MA degrees, we
talked about it and decided that her getting a college degree was probably
the best "insurance" we could get her, in case anything ever happened to
me. (Little did we know....) Now I feel better because I know that if she
ever needs to seek work outside the home, she can start mid-way up the
ladder to begin with. I'm happy that she can use the space now for things
she needs every day to keep the children and household going. Maybe it was
that this damn disease has already taken so much, I just wanted to claim a
small victory by holding onto just a little for as long as I could. I had
procrastinated, maybe even hoping that a "cure" was right around the corner
that would allow me to have a similar "quality of life" that I had enjoyed
before. Who knows for sure. All I know is that it was very, very hard to
finally do this.....Phil.


Phil Hardt    602-309-3118


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