You Need a Community to get through the Worst of Times!
I just had the worst Christmas of my life!!
But wow, am I ever brimming with gratitude for my community in a much deeper way than I’ve ever felt it before! And I thought I was a pretty grateful and appreciative person before.
To back up a bit, my boyfriend got a sudden and life threatening illness just days before Christmas, while I was out of town visiting with my family on the East Coast. So, I flew back for several days, until I knew for sure he wasn’t going to die or need to be amputated, and then flew back out East to spend a few days with my kids and get a bit of a ‘normal’ Christmas in. And then we drove back to Ottawa early, so I could get back to ensuring my boyfriend would make a full recovery.
What a nightmare.
He was coming down with a bit of a flu or something seemingly typical before Christmas, but wow. He ended up spending just over a week in the ICU and then another 2 weeks in the hospital recovering, and now he’s at home continuing his recovery and still off work. Thankfully at this point, he’s expected to make a great recovery and he’s dodged all serious long term health issues – thank god!
The last month and a half has been a whirlwind of emotions, from the highest highs to all out despair and paralyzing worry and fear. All during one of the happiest times of the year – the irony has not been lost on me. Every time a clerk or cashier wished me a Merry Christmas I felt like crying. I mean, I had Christmas dinner at MacDonald’s for goodness sake!!
And somehow, I’ve been able to keep things together pretty well, even with zero down time. There’s just no free time in the day right now. Or nearly none. And I’ve certainly taken sick days or sick mornings, if I’m feeling so overwhelmed that tears are just on the surface.
But the miracle of this whole experience is that it seems to be teaching me to really embrace gratitude in a way that I haven’t done before. Having a loved one near death has a way of crystallizing what’s important and enabling you to let go of what’s not. Life is just too short sometimes, and at others, it threatens to be too short and scares the shit out of you!! Either way – it’s a very effective motivator for cutting out the crap and dropping the baggage.
Since this all began, I’ve come back again and again, to the fact that I’m so profoundly grateful for my support system, my community. For my family and friends, and my ex, and my boyfriend’s family, my work family, and the kindness of strangers. The whole gamut.
For everyone who’s had a hand in holding us up during this time of crisis.
To my boyfriend’s mom and brothers who have helped with care now that he’s back at home, as well as in hospital. Especially when he was in a coma in ICU, they were great company, with endless stories of funny childhood memories. It was so comforting to be with people who knew him well when he was in a coma. To my ex who was flexible enough to take the kids some more over the break, so that I could be at the hospital. To my parents and sisters and their families, who looked after the kids, so I could be at the hospital. To my work, who were super flexible with my work hours and additional sick days. To all of our loved ones who sent kind words of support and offered to help in various ways. To the excellent hospital staff who worked tirelessly to bring my boyfriend back to health. To everyone, even strangers, who just held a door for me, or offered a smile or conversation.
You’ve made it all possible for me to be present to my boyfriend. And you’re the reason I’m able to carry on a reasonable resemblance of my normal daily life.
So, as we begin 2018, I am feeling so hopeful for humanity and so grateful just to be alive and to share life with people I love.
Who are you grateful for in your life?
And what are your hopes for 2018?
I encourage you to Dream Big. Life is short. Leave it all out on the field. Let the world see you as you truly are – the world needs all you have to offer!
All the best,
PS. I have some exciting, new plans in 2018 for my website – stay tuned!
PSS. Happy New Year!