Well, today marks one month.
The longest and shortest month of my life.
For the last week, I’ve been reflecting on the past month and those last few days.
I can’t help but feel so grateful.
From all the love and support from friends and family to those last precious moments in the hospital… I’m just forever grateful.
To all of you who donated money, donated time, ran errands, watched Tank, brought us food, fixed problems around the house, sent texts, made phone calls, checked in, spared a hug… thank you.
Those 2 words seem so inadequate for the gratitude and love I feel. So please just know, I’d say it everyday, over and over, to show my appreciation.
Our book club call from Saturday was the spark for this post. The speaker talked about perception and how we like to make things bigger or worse than they actually are – turning things into a much bigger deal that we end up worrying about the end than actually enjoying the precious present moments that are right in front of us. If you walk throughout the day worrying about the end, you are completely missing out on the simple joys happening in the present. This was something I always struggled with, trying to control my day, worrying too much about things I honestly had no control over, and worrying about things that hadn’t even happened yet (and probably weren’t going to happen that way anyway). When living with a “terminal” illness, it’s hard to not look at life a little differently than someone who isn’t. None of us know our last day, but when you know your time is more likely to end sooner than others, anxiety and worry can easily overpower any other daily emotion. And it’s completely normal and okay to feel that way. However, if you walk through each day only worrying about the end and when that will happen, you are not living. Again, it took us several years to grasp this, but we eventually learned that we couldn’t live our lives consumed with and by his illness. It just became part of our everyday, “normal” life. Was it different from a lot of our friends? Definitely. Scheduling our social life around a chemo schedule (if we even had a game plan in place for treatments) was definitely not how we wanted to live our first few years of marriage, but we made it work and anytime we did get to spend with friends and loved one, we made sure we were present in those moments and celebrated every special time together, big or small. Learning this new way of thinking didn’t happen overnight, but I challenge you to start implementing it and work on being present in every moment, stop worrying about things out of your control, and practicing this everyday until it becomes natural. There was something one of my amazing mentors told me a couple of weeks ago that rang so true and hit the nail on the head, she said she always didn’t think of Kenny living like he was dying, but just simply living like he wasn’t dying… Are you living like you are dying or are you living life as if you weren’t?
On the call Saturday, we also talked about how important it is to be grateful for every part of your life, good or bad. The peaks and the valleys. It took me awhile to learn how to do this, but for the past year or so, I have done my best to appreciate every struggle, every win, every possible learning experience. Learning this skill, I truly believe, has saved me this past month, those last few days in the hospital. I am grateful for being able to push him in his wheelchair his last few weeks. I am grateful for those last few long, sleepless nights with him. I am grateful for being able to be there with him until the very end. I wouldn’t trade any of those hard times for anything in the world. No regrets. Absolutely none.
I am forever grateful.