Liz Marchi: Life Interrupted


Sometimes the qualities we admire most in those we love can be the most frustrating under certain circumstances.  My rancher husband grew up with a New England mother who taught all to never complain, be cheerful and go about your business.

We just spent our 12th night in Kalispell regional Medical Center.  Jon was admitted through the Emergency Room a week ago last Friday night.  The previous Monday we spent a night at the ER at St. Luke’s.  Following discharge, things didn’t get better.  Jon had a surgery on Wednesday and another surgery the following Monday for an acute bacterial science infection.  Our lives have been suspended for two weeks.  He kept going even though he was feeling very tired and weak.

As I age, I have found it very valuable to look at life’s circumstances as opportunities to learn more about this amazing journey we call life.  I read a lot especially  about our culture, the times we live in, how we got here and how we can make a better world for our children and grandchildren.  There is a recurring theme, empathy.  The ability to understand and share the feelings of another, simple definition, infinitely challenging for many.

When I was in college, career planning was a big topic.  I was lucky enough to participate in many workshops and sessions that measured my interests, skills, natural abilities, etc.  While I was sure I wanted to be a lawyer, I wasn’t well suited for that profession.  The profession at which I scored the worst, below zero, was nursing.  I would say empathy has always been an opportunity for me to do better.

We have been confined for almost 2 weeks now in the hospital.  Thank God for diversity, I couldn’t do the work of an RN, CNA or doctor.  The nurses do the heavy lifting for those in pain and suffering.  In a world where technology is transforming so much, I can’t imagine the time when the human touch and care of the ailing body won’t be needed.  Nurses have my deepest admiration.  They don’t enjoy the front pages, they defer to physicians, but they do the day in, day out, night in and night out work that makes healing.

Jon and I have family, ranch hands and so many friends who have stepped in to ease our minds of the daily work that we aren’t doing.  I have never had the empathy I should for those  who are ill or suffer from chronic conditions.  Jon has needed me here for this stay to be his advocate, eyes and ears.  What about the parent who has toddlers or teenagers at home, maybe a single parent working paycheck to paycheck?  We have Medicare and supplemental insurance.  If not, this would be a  financial crisis.  We know that medical bankruptcy was the leading cause of bankruptcy in our country before the Affordable Care Act.  It’s far from perfect but this is a challenge we must rise to meet in America and empathy is essential to the process.

The very best part of growing older is learning to walk in gratitude and appreciation for so much.  Sometimes our daily routines need to be interrupted to reset our priorities.

Liz Marchi


Liz-MarchiLiz Marchi lives on a ranch in Polson, Montana  with her husband Jon. She is the Fund Coordinator for the Frontier Angel Fund and spends a lot of time thinking and learning about entrepreneurs, the economy and Montana’s unique place in the world. She has three daughters and a stepson and daughter and a grandchild.  She graduated from Hollins College and is entering the final quarter of life…unless we go into overtime.