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At the end of the day, or at the end of our days, what matters most?  What are the sensations that most count in life, that most give pleasure?  Why do we forget, on a daily basis, that worries and stresses from the job and from people around us actually keep us from what matters most?

As a very good friend faces a difficult medical diagnosis, we have been reminded of the precious moments we have wasted on trivial or meaningless concerns.

This friend, in contrast, seems to have been very tuned in to precious moments.  As he sits with tubes and probes connected in the most indiscreet locations, he continues to create life around him.

The dreaded Intensive Care Unit, where only the closest family members may approach: there were 10 visitors today to ICU in the 40 minutes I was there.  Last night and today, musician friends stopped by to play a bit, closing the door so as to not bother other patients.  A martini appeared last night, as well as an Italian Mixed submarine sandwich today, with olives on the side.

Ask yourself this:  If I were in the ICU, how many people would claim to be kin, so they could get in to see me?

The measure of this man is the parade of “family” through the door, each and every one distraught upon arrival, but then comforted upon departure.

Create life around you, with those around you.  Cherish your family, albeit through genetics or through affection.

And please pray for a miracle, or the opportunity for time.

About Claire Ziamandanis

Claire Ziamandanis is Professor of Spanish at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Over her 20 years at the college, she has been a champion for study abroad, establishing the first affiliation for Spanish students, and then working with the Study Abroad office to open the doors to students from other majors. Claire loves travel, food, wine and Spanish but not necessarily in that order!


  1. It sounds like the man you describe in your story is the beacon, the ultimate, which all others should strive to become. Praying for him and for those who grieve in this stage of his life.

    • Claire Ziamandanis

      Thank you Jacob. This friend is truly a model for humanity, what it should be and how it is defined.

  2. What a beautiful reminder for all of us to take measure of what truly matters. Your friend is my prayers.

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