I haven’t posted recently because I’m tired. I’ve been coping with being the caregiver to a very sick loved one so writing has been the last thing on my mind after I get home from spending the day at the hospital, getting dinner together for the family in the evening and settling the children into bed.
But today, I went for a run through a beautiful local park because between dropping the children off at school and visiting hours in the ICU beginning, I have about two hours. Two hours during which I can choose to stew and be alone with my own morbid imagination and the Internet (trust me when I tell you not to Google symptoms of even the most minor illness. Seriously. Don’t do it).
I put on my runners, slipped my earbuds into my ears and ran. I ran from my thoughts, I ran from my obligations, I ran from the fear and uncertainty of the last week. And I discovered something as I ran. That despite everything we have faced in the last few months (job losses, family illnesses, hospital stays, etc.), I am still grateful for so many things.
I am grateful for family. Both the family I was born into and the family into which I married. They have supported me, my loved one and our children throughout this week. They have arrived with offers of help, a willingness to distract the children, an ear to just let me vent and an amazing capability help me navigate and cope with all of the unknowns.
I am grateful for friends – the family I chose for myself. The fact that these individuals have been willing to suspend their own lives and cook a dinner, watch the children, help me be a patient advocate or just give a big bear hug when I need one has touched me deeply. I knew I chose this family right.
I am grateful to my children for providing a welcome sense of calm, humour and energy in my life. They are the reason I have continued putting one foot in front of the other instead of curling into a ball on my couch. They are the reason I have kept laughing despite my worry.
I am grateful to the amazing medical team in the ICU, the emergency room and to those that help others. Those that are willing, even when they have no idea what the root cause may be, to don a gown, gloves, masks and put their own safety aside to try to heal someone. Their support has been tremendously appreciated. Their daily job has allowed my loved one to continue living.
I am grateful to the artists in my running playlist for spurring me to lace up my runners and hit the trail. Music is healing and has made me move even when I haven’t wanted to keep going.
I am grateful to the peacock in the park this morning who opened his tail feathers just as I rounded the corner. You reminded me that even in the midst of drab hospital rooms, harsh florescent lights and the smell of antiseptics, there is beauty.
Finally, I am grateful for life and the ability to keep breathing day after day. Yes, this is a rough patch and yes, there are days I don’t want to keep going. But I do. And I will. And, after the reminder this week of how tenuous life can be, I will live it to the fullest.