Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Embracing the Gift of Life

Tonight I wanted to put on my running shoes and run underneath the midnight sky.  I wanted the stars to shine down upon me.  I needed healing energy from Above.  This scenerio, unfortunately, was not a possiblity for me this evening.  Instead, I will let my thoughts pour onto the screen.

I thought my next post was going to be all about birthdays, and celebrating for weeks on end.  After all, I have had a fabulously fun two weeks plus celebrating my "22nd" bday.  I had the words for my blog post already written in my head.  I also had visions of sharing the celebration of life and the human spirit and goodness in the world, after the completion of the March for Babies walk this past Sunday that I helped to orchestrate.  But I just couldn't find the time to get the words out of my mind.  The last two weeks have brought on a significant decrease in my running and my writing.  My focus has been narrow minded but it needed to be done, in order for me to be a witness to my first successful March for Babies walk and to celebrate my birthday properly.  I was going a hundred miles minute and I had to gently remind myself several times to "just breathe and enjoy the moment."

And then life came to a crashing halt. 

Our elderly dog was not doing well throughout the night.  My husband and I had talks about how this weekend might be her time.  Call it denial but this talk is a repeat and we always convince ourselves that she is doing better.  But this time I see the pain in her movements.  She is experiencing a new level of wanting to sleep and not wake up, for anything.  And just when I'm thinking of how inhumane it is to let her suffer, I receive an e-mail from a dear friend.  Her husband does not qualify for the experimental treatment because his body cannot process the lethal chemo.  It would be considered unethical and a form of assisted suicide.  Instead, the decision has been made to start Hospice with injections of Morphine.  One has to ask what is the quality of life when you are so drugged up in your bed, living out your final days, as your loved ones surround you with tearful goodbyes?  Do you understand the irony here??  Our elderly dog will be put down to end her pain and suffering.  There is no Hospice or morphine involved.  Why is it considered "unethical" to try an experimental drug and offer hope for a miracle to our friend who has already been given six months or less to live? 

Maybe I should have waited to write this post?  I am still processing it all.  My heart is heavy for our friend and his family.  I keep asking God when the ugliness will end.  Why do the good, really, really good people experience the most suffering?  Is it so that we can learn from them?  They are an example to others how they handle pain and agony with grace and a giving heart.  You never hear them complain.  A certain acceptance takes over and they are given an understanding of what it is in life you should appreciate.

In less than three years, I have been a witness to death with several of my best friends.  I wish I could somehow forget the ugliness that they were each faced.  Instead, I stayed close and their struggles have forever changed who I am and my approach to life.

Some would say I need to slow down. They ask how I do it all.  For me, it is not a choice.  I embrace my life.  I live life without regrets after seeing death knock on the door too soon, too many times, to some of the most wonderful people. 

In a moment, your life can change forever.  We cannot take anything for granted.  We must appreciate our blessings.  We should celebrate every moment.  New experiences must be checked off the bucket list.  We must understand that we are all in this together.  We must treat each other with kindness.  It is important to always accept an opportunity to be with cherished friends and family.  You never know if it will be the last time you are with that person.

We must demonstrate grace.  We must accept one another.  Ugliness will always be present in our lives but it is up to each one of us to strive for goodness.  Our time is limited so don't wait until tomorrow, your moment is here and now, to bring goodness into the world.  Life is truly a gift. I am mindful of this and make my best effort to live life each day to the fullest. 

As I blew out my birthday candles this year, I thanked God for the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me.  And I made it my birthday wish, to dissipate the ugliness in life by striving for ways to help make this world a better place. 

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