The very nature of disease has a negative connotation, as does all that goes with it. Sometimes it’s impossible to see the positive side of being ill or having any gratitude for the very thing that took away your life. In this sacred season and time of joy, I thought it appropriate to list the things I am grateful for, the positive things that have come out of my getting sick.
1. We got a dog.
Not one, in fact, but two. When I worked full time and so did my Husband, we knew it wasn’t fair to have a dog. We simply didn’t have the time. Some days, I swear, the dogs are all that keep my sanity. I mean just look at these faces!!
2. I’ve been able to be here for the family members who needed us most.
Shortly after resigning from my careers, my Father in Law was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Not working enabled me to take care of him when he most needed it and to help my Husband do the same. My Father in Law spent his final days home with me, had I still been working and traveling, that likely wouldn’t have happened.
3. I’ve been here for my kids 24/7.
That hasn’t always been a Blessing, just ask them, but the kids know that no matter how sick I am, that I’m always here and always home. It may just be from the couch in pj’s.
4. I found out that money isn’t everything.
Working, I was a complete perfectionist (always have been). I always had my eye on the prize: title, salary, stepping stones, getting ahead…..One of the very first things we lost was money. Losing our financial security taught us that money is far from everything. Without love and health, it is of no consequence. I needed that reminder.
5. I have learned to be present.
Always living for tomorrow, my goals and aspirations left very little time to stop and take in the here and now. Being forced to spend a large majority of life in bed or on the couch teaches you to be present, if anything.
6. I have met new people.
I met and lost a great love in my life. One of my two dearest friends passed away on December 16, 2017. I had her friendship for a mere two years in my life and we had a bond few others ever have or can comprehend. I met Scottie selling something on eBay. It was something I had never done before getting sick and was trying to pay for Christmas that year. Scottie taught me to love and to live again. I know that God sent me that Earth Angel, at a pivotal time in my life and my illness. She taught me how to forgive and how to trust and live again. She prevented my deep seeded anger from taking hold and instead replaced it with unconditional love and understanding. Had I not been selling something on eBay, I would never have had the Blessing of meeting her. I’ve also had the opportunity to befriend other people I have met.
7. I have an incredibly loyal support system now.
I have lost too many friends and colleagues to count. I’ve been written off, accused of faking, avoided and forgotten. Sometimes it’s impossible not to be incredibly lonely and feel invisible. However, the few friends I have, my childhood best friend, my now small family; it’s infallibly close, supportive and loving. Over the years, I have learned not to mourn those I’ve lost, but to treasure the few that I know love me and support me. I now know that it is them that will always be here. What more could I ask for?
8. My time is my own.
How many people can actually say that? This topic is bittersweet, to say the least. Some days I cry over my inactivity and inability. However, how many people can say that their time is their own? When not too sick, I write this blog, I have learned Reiki and Essential Oils. If this body allows, I would love to learn Spanish one day.
9. I have learned the true power of love.
When my Husband, Bri and I said our vows in 2008, we never thought of the gravity of “in sickness and in health”. How could we? We were still relative newlyweds when I began getting sick. These years, trials and tribulations have brought our marriage to it’s knees and twice, almost broke us. Yet here we stand, stronger, more in love and more infallible than ever. Whenever I can’t handle anymore, can’t go on, can’t push anymore, I garner my strength from the love I have in my life. If I had to choose losing my health or losing love: I’d choose health every time.
10. I have unending gratitude.
I am immeasurably grateful. I am grateful for every good day, every moment when I’m not feeling horrible. Every visit with the kids and time spent together. Every dog walk. Every laugh with my best friend. Every moment spent with my Husband. I no longer take anything for granted. When your entire life is upheaved and you no longer know what to expect or have any control over your life, it teaches you to always treasure any beautiful moments. Having unending gratitude empowers me to still live.
I can’t sit here and say that on my bad days I always have the strength to focus on the positive or that there aren’t days when sorrow and self-pity take over. In those instances, I let the tears flow and allow myself those moments to grieve and cry. Almost inevitably, the dogs come to lick the tears away and remind me:
All is not lost when you love and hope.
~Love and Light, Stacey