Typically I wouldn't post about a topic like this but yesterday, it kind of smacked me in the face and is hard to ignore now.  On my flight yesterday, I sat next to an overweight woman in her 60s named Cathy.  Cathy had just had knee surgery on both her knees last year and had a hard time with mobility on the plane.  She had a bag full of prescription medication and she was growing increasingly frustrated looking through the bag for a specific bottle, cussing and sweating while she did it.  I volunteered to hold her bag on my lap while she dug through it and as she looked, Cathy told me about how she was a Christian, grandmother to 6 and was flying to a wedding on the West Coast.  She started tearing up and silently sobbing as she told me about how she had been to prison because of multiple DUIs and was kicked off the last flight she was on because she had been causing a scene and disturbing the other passengers.  While Cathy talked, she also kept ringing the service bell and asking me when the beverage cart was going to come by, saying that she needed a drink in the worst way.  The stewardesses refused to serve her alcohol during the flight, which was probably a smart move on their part, but by the end of the flight, Cathy was visibly shaking and started having a minor panic attack.

Prior to this, I had never met anyone who had such an obvious dependency on alcohol and the entire flight was really sad.  I thought about her young grandchildren, who probably wonder why grandma acts "funny."  And though I was able to be someone to talk to on the flight, it made me feel incredibly helpless too to know that there were plenty of other passengers who were trying to ignore the crazy lady on the flight or that the airline kick her off the plane because of her disruptive behavior.  I don't know what the solution is to a problem like this, even for just one individual like Cathy, and it's much too complex to be addressed on a blog post.  But I do know that sometimes being kind and patient will make a big difference in someone else's day, as they may be struggling with multiple invisible demons.