The days where you’re on death’s bed, faking your smile, crying every minute on the inside for some type of relief just wishing you had a broken foot.
I’ll never forget the day after my husband told me about what the doctors said, “We are very afraid of where she’ll be in two months if she’s even with us.” Odd it’s the day after but let me explain. I worked on the 3rd floor of a local mall and to get to my car I had to take the elevator to the first level. 4 other co-workers walked with me. As we walked we had to pass by many clothing stores, a dollar store and by the exit doors was the food court. This was like any other day, only according to the doctors I only had about 59 more of them left to live.
I walked as I usually did, with my friends. When we neared the exit door there was a young woman with a broken foot in front of us, walking lightly on her casted foot, alone. There were 2 men, I would say in their 40s, sitting at a near by table. They saw the young woman in front of us and jumped up to help open the door. In the process they kind of shoved me to the side, giving all of us a dirty look. Almost to say, “Can’t you see this young lady needs help!” They opened the door for her, smiled, and told her to have a great day. They then pushed the door closed so I had to open it myself and they went and sat down.
I wondered, if they actually knew would it have been the other way? Would the men at the table have jumped up and opened the door for me, giving the same dirty look and shove to the young girl with the broken foot?
The girl wth the broken foot would be ‘normal’ and back to her every day life as usual in weeks. I was running out of those weeks. But the truth is, we all do it. If we see a physical ailment, we often bend over backwards to help those people, to make their life just that much easier even if just for a moment. But what about those that you didn’t hold the door open for and today is there last day? Would you have changed your interaction with them?
It’s simply so much easier to have an ailment that everyone can see than to live with brain tumors, pain, and so much more. I would rather wobble alone down a dirty mall hall to an exit door in so much pain because I have a broken foot, then to walk perfectly fine (most days) with a group of friends, a fake smile on my face, not knowing if I have a tomorrow.
Many times, even alongside many, I feel like I’m walking alone. But as life has different plans for me, I walk no matter what. Alone or not.
Recently parts of Costa Rica were hit hard with Tropical Storm Nate (which later became an official hurricane). This storm devastated many areas, and unfortunately the areas that were devastated were where the majority of the poor lived. People who didn’t have much to begin with were now literally left with nothing. Some have lost their houses completely as the walls simply washed away. Many of the houses were roof line in water. Once the water receded, what these families were left with was what seemed to be a daunting task. They had anywhere from 3 to 6 feet of mud. Mud that was so heavy and black it was hard to clean. Adding water to it made it harder and almost like a clay substance.
The day after the storm I saw all of the posts on FB about needing help and needing drivers. I own a truck and volunteered. I couldn’t have prepared myself for what was next. Looking into the eyes of a mother who almost lost her disabled child while holding her other 2 small children in her arms, left with absolutely nothing, not even clothes or diapers. Elderly who were found in the mud, now in hospital, and all but 3 of their 15 animals passed away and all over their property and in their house. I cried many times throughout each day. I had no idea that for the next 11 days, 12-15 hours per day, would these people be changing my life as well. The hearts of most of these people are incredible and one by one we helped.
We shoveled mud, we cleaned, we gave them food, clothes, water, kitchen supplies, cook tops, mattresses, hygienic supplies and so much more. We loved them and they loved us back. We were welcomed and greeted with big smiles and hugs.
11 days later each house in the fincas and areas that our teams personally worked with were all clean and everyone had everything they needed except something to cook on but that is being delivered in a few days. We will also be helping to build 2 houses that were completely lost.
The hearts of the people I came across, the people who donated day in and day out, who gave everything they could, who either bought things or went through their houses, the people who donated their time and shoveled mud and cleaned and the people who made hot meals so the affected people could have a hot meal, blew me away. There are simply no words to describe these people. They brought me to tears on several occasions because they genuinely cared and did not help for anything other reason than to just help. So incredible! I can never thank these people enough.
Through all of this I have been lost for words and it still continues. So to anyone who helped, in any small way, THANK YOU! If you have ever helped in any part of any storm or hurricane area, THANK YOU! It’s because of your hard work, determination, kindness and amazing hearts that anyone can recover and start to live somewhat of a normal life again.
“There isn’t much time. She’s going downhill pretty fast. You should come.” The words none ever wants to hear. That call came in this morning about my grandmother. I unfortunately do not live within driving distance. I don’t even live in the same country or the neighboring one. But as I am far away I feel her.
My grandmother and I were really close all of my life. I used to spend the summers at her house. She would teach me to paint, make wicker furniture, play croquet and play card games with me. She would make popcorn from scratch almost every night and put the best butter on it. We would sit together and watch a show before bed.
She is 90 years old and in 3 months would have been 91. She has lived a full life and for that I am so grateful. My children got to know her which was important to me too.
Who knows what “going downhill fast” means and how much time she actually has but even once she passes, I know she will always be with me. She can feel me there now.
If this is you today, be grateful for the moments you had. No regrets! Smile and feel them close. Know that there time is special for them and should be for us too. It’s always harder on the living. Feel them around you and know they know you loved them.
Love you grandma. Til I see you again! You were the best grandma I could have ever asked for. Enjoy your next adventure. Love and laugh all the way.
What does it mean to be perfect? To never make a mistake? To never feel a negative emotion? To never hurt anyone or be hurt? To never tell that little white lie and speak only of truth? To never be sick? To never fail and always succeed at everything you do and to never question your abilities? What does it mean to be perfect?
Perhaps being perfect is being the exact opposite of all of this. It’s making mistakes and feeling the negative emotion that goes with it. Maybe it’s being hurt and puristically hurting others. Maybe being perfect is telling little white lies, being ill, and failing every day. Perhaps it’s doubting yourself but proving yourself wrong.
It’s being imperfect that makes you perfect. It shows you have personality, courage, smarts, belief and values. It shows you have character. It’s being imperfect gracefully. It’s showing remorse, saying you’re sorry, having compassion and admitting when you’ve messed up or lied. It’s being angry at someone but telling them you love them still. It’s arguing and apologizing, it’s crying and laughing, screaming and yelling.
I am perfect. I live my life imperfectly. Are you living your life imperfectly? Are you perfect?
For anyone who has ever been sick and has or will have some form of “treatment.” The mere word is vague and can be quite scary to someone who has never had to have any form of. I have had treatments for many things for many years. But 1 1/2 years ago I decided to try a different type of treatment. A treatment where I was hoping to not just mask the symptoms but to truly and honestly cure me. See, most treatments are done to “hopefully” cure you but at the very least, mask your symptoms so you don’t feel the pain, or the fatigue or you can go about your day. I have never been interested in treatments that mask.
In any case, I found this “treatment” from a naturopath here in Costa Rica. My husband and I had in-depth conversations with him as to how is actually cures and with no true guarantees (but what is in life anyway) we decided to go for it. It involves needles and injections and I.V’s and the whole process for each treatment is well over 4 hours. And if I’m being honest, it is the most painful thing I have ever endured. With more than 40 injections into my head, another 10 or so in my neck and shoulders, some in my forehead, down my stomach, along my back and across my chest I’m sure I cry with every one. Some hurt more than others. Some stimulate aspects of my brain and give me strong sensations of many different feelings. Sometimes the affect lasts for hours and other times the sensation is gone in minutes. When my treatment is over, I’m ready to pass out. I feel very weak. My husband typically helps me to the car, takes me home, tucks me in to bed and allows me to sleep while he takes care of the kids and makes dinner. I tend to spend the rest of the night either laying in bed with the family or reclined in the recliner in the living room watching a movie, typically while I dose in and out.
The truth is, I would encourage anyone to endure this as the treatments are working. It is an all natural treatment that is kicking the butt of many things wrong in my body. The ultimate goal is to get rid of my tumor and I’m sure it will happen. I will be cured one day and this will all be a story in my past because of this treatment. I know people who have been diagnosed with MS who slept all day and could barely function who now live a normal healthy life where you would know nothing was ever wrong with them in the past. I have met people enduring the same treatments I am enduring who were given months to live with cancer and are completely cancer free and have been for years. And although there is never a guarantee with anything, I am a living testimony that this treatment works. Sometimes it’s about putting all preconceived notions aside and jumping in with two feet hoping to land on solid ground and simply follow your gut…and also knowing that you’ll be ok if that ground you land on isn’t so solid.
So, as I brace myself and mentally prepare myself for my next treatment in 2 days time, I can smile. Although I know it will be excruciating and exhausting, I know it is helping me keep my Hero Within. With every injection I get to be the mom I want to be to my kids. With every painful injection I get to be a wife. With every prick and tear, I get to love more and be loved. Grateful to be in so much pain for such a short period of time.
What makes you, you? Do you really know. Do you know what’s at your core? If you had the task of sitting down and writing a list with a minimum of 20 things that truly made you who you are, could you do it? Do you truly know the reasons why you are special? Why are you different from everyone else? Do you truly believe that all of those things that make you different are the amazing things that make you, you and not the reasons you need to be embarrassed? Why would you be embarrassed about anything that makes you, you?
Embrace every scar, every wound, every mark. Each one tells a story. Each one has helped you become who you are. Every fear you have, makes you special. All of the pride you have, make you unique. Every memory you have, good or bad, is worth having as it separates you from anyone else. Every encounter and experience…special..it’s you. Every thought you have, amazing or terrible, be proud. Sometimes you will do or say things that may offend, hurt, embarrass, or devastate someone else…that’s ok because it’s all part of helping you create you. Sometimes you will do or say things that hurt, sadden or wound yourself and that’s also ok…it’s you.
Wrap your arms around you. Smile. Forgive yourself. Work on being the greatest you. Sometimes you will fail and other times you will excel, either way it’s ok because it’s you.Love yourself…faults and all…each thing makes you special and beautiful. From inside to out, you are perfect. Believe.
Sit down and write your list. A list of what makes you, you. Leave nothing off…even the things you are secretly proud of and no one knows. Keep that list in a safe place. When you need reminding, read it. Add to it. Live it. Love you! You are your own Hero!
We’ve all heard of the bucket list; the list you make when you are getting older in life, many make this list as they approach their mid-lives, of all of the things you want to do, accomplish or see in life “before you die.” Once the bucket list idea was introduced, almost everyone has one now, even teenagers. As I coach so many people who are ill, I have come to find they too have that bucket list. Some say, their bucket list is more urgent than most because of their illness and they simply don’t know how much time they have left.
HOWEVER, I say, we are making the wrong kind of lists. Or at the very least, we need to add another list which is way more important than the bucket list. I encourage to have both. The list to help you through those “bad” times, those times where you simply don’t feel you can fight any longer. You may not be in the fight of your life now, but what about tomorrow? What about a sudden accident, or illness, or something so traumatic happens and you slip in to a deep depression? What is going to help you then? During those dark moments when giving up seems so much easier? When giving in seems like the only option? The bucket list you have created, now only makes all of this worse as it is a constant reminder of the things you are not doing, can no longer do, or perhaps will never accomplish. It’s a reminder that your life is different now.
I coach everyone to make this list:
- Make a list of all of the reasons you have to fight….things and people and put an explanation beside them.
- Ask all of the people who are on your list of reasons to fight, to write a letter (or list) of all of the reasons they want you to fight. *Do not read them as they come in. These letters/lists are for when you need them. When you need that fight inside you again to overcome and be triumph, you will reach in to your box of letters, choose one and read it.
- What do you do that truly makes you happy? (watching a movie, going to the beach, taking a walk with your kids or spouse, riding a bike, vacation, etc…) How can you incorporate it into your daily life now? (I have coached people who were grieving the loss of a loved one and one of the most common things they said they missed most was the “ritual” in which they shared, that this was the one true thing that made them happy. For some it was breakfast every Tuesday at their favorite spot, others was walking hand in hand down the beach every Sunday morning. Yet, once they passed, they stopped doing this. I encourage them to continue doing exactly the same ritual and during that time, “talk” to them through memories and smiles and thoughts. If it helps, bring a picture of them with you, you can keep it in your pocket even, but it’s a symbol of them being with you. Allow that time to be your time together..if you need a time every day, dedicate that time and that time only. The rest of the day is spent doing things that allow yourself to be truly happy and start living again…this also gives you something new to “talk” about during your time with your loved one.) Find a way; YOUR way!
- What is your purpose in life? Forget about your past preconceived notions of what you wanted or thought was going to happen; think of you now and life as a whole…pretend you are up high looking down at you and your life…what is your bigger purpose?
- What is your favorite quote? (Don’t have one? Find one!) Tape it to your bathroom mirror so every morning you read it and every night before bed you read it. Tape it to the sun visor of your car so when you get in and out each time, you are reading it. Set it as a reminder on your phone 2-4 times throughout the day so it periodically goes off. (You’ll be surprised how often it goes off during those moments when you need it most.)
- What is YOUR song? (Don’t have one? Find one!) It doesn’t matter if it’s “popular” or on the top of the charts, it doesn’t matter the beat; what matters is that it touches you; it moves you; it makes you feel alive again and empowers you to keep going. Set it as your ring tone or your text notification sound. Set it as your alarm so every morning you are waking up to it.
- What is your favorite place? This could be a coffee shop, ice cream shop, mall, this could be a chair in your house that simply makes you feel safe, loved and cozy. If you don’t have one, create one. Find a chair and fill it full of the things that give you comfort and pure happiness. While in your place, there is one rule….at NO point can you think, speak or listen to negativity.
- What are your positive trigger words? These words are words that instantly make you smile and feel better.
- What are your negative trigger words? These are the words that instantly make you feel sad or bring back sad memories for you.
During the times where you need that fight, you need that reason, this list will be your savior. You will have the letters already waiting for you to open and read from your loved ones, you will have your song and quote ready to lift you up, you will have your go to place, you will know which words are triggers so you just have to focus on changing the negative ones, you will have things to do that make you happy. This list will allow you to dream again and to start truly living.
Make a bucket list? Yes! BUT…make a “Life Saver” list too!
Living your life for a different purpose gives you a different life to live. When we focus on what could have been, what could have changed, the dreams we once had but can no longer fulfill, then our life’s purpose changes and the life we live is a negative depressing one. But when we stop surrounding ourselves with the things that remind us of things that once were, dreams we once had, and replace it with things that make us dream again, we start to live life’s purpose again. Your life’s purpose can change. Let’s not live the life you thought you were going to live or the life you wanted to live, start living the life that you have, that you’ve been given. When you shift your focus and realize the “hand that you’ve been dealt” is far better than the life you have ever dreamed of, your purpose changes. Sit down and truly think about life’s purpose, YOUR purpose, and start living according to that and instantly see a difference. You will truly go from powerless to powerful.
Life is all about Paths. Which path you choose determines which life you live. Sometimes we get on one path and veer on to another path quickly and sometimes we stay on that path for a long while. But we choose which path based on what we are going through and how we are feeling about it. But always keep in mind that you always have two paths to choose from no matter what it is you are going through. Take a Health Adversity, you truly only have 2 paths to choose from. The first is the EASY path. This path is the choice of giving in. IT’s feeling sick and allowing the doctors and outside factors determine not only your life’s worth but your lifespan. If you choose this path then you know what you will feel, you know what you will go through, there is no real fight as you have given in. You know the outcome and it’s usually not a good one. Relationships are not vital and the only thing you focus on, is the illness itself and the grief it’s causing in your life. This is a dark path and your life is filled with complete darkness and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. However, Path 2 can also be chosen, But it is the most difficult path you will ever go down. You do not know what you will feel. You do not know the outcome. Relationships are vital as they will carry you when you need to be carried and lifted when you are down. You have no idea when the outcome will be and it is hard to see the light at the end but you know it’s there. You will feel things you never thought possible. You will endure the biggest and hardest battle you ever could imagine; the fight for your life. BUT you will win. On this path you have hope, you still smile, you still laugh. You still live.
Think of all of the reasons why you have to fight; write them down! They will come in handy when you need them. When you think of giving up, ask yourself why you have fought so hard and for so long to start with?
Which ever path you choose, you can not waver. You can not decide to choose path 2 today, path 1 tomorrow and path 2 again next week. Once you waiver, you must start at the beginning of the path again so any progress you have made is now gone. Choose a path, stay on it and never lose sight of that glimmer of light at the end; it’s always there.
Just remember this: If you are headed down a path and that path is clear, you are probably on someone else’s path!