The Beauty That Remains
I had someone comment to me that they found if they just gave in to whatever it was going wrong with their health they did better. My response was that we all had to do what worked for us but that I found for myself that if I just gave in, it signaled my body to quit trying and I would be totally bedridden and never get out of this bed. I have to keep fighting and having the attitude that I will not give up or give in and that my illness does not define me.
“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” Jesse Owens
I loved the determination post earlier and determined I am. If I were not, I would be totally wheelchair bound now. And I do not want that. I have met people who could get in the wheelchair and remain there and be happy having others wait on them or do for them. I can not do that. I know that making myself get up on my feet and walk with these forearm crutches every day gives me that freedom that is so important to me. That is how strong my determination is to stay up walking at least to the bathroom. It is all a matter of what is most important to us.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain
I am just as determined to find joy in my day ever day. That is my choice just as it is another person’s choice to let themselves be consumed with misery and hate every moment of their lives. We can not choose for another…only encourage them to live and find that joy that is there. Being chronically ill or in chronic pain or disabled does not mean we can not do. Never live life where you look back and ask yourself “oh why did I not try to do more? Why did I not put forth more effort?” If we live that way, we will regret it and life is now. We can not go back and un do.
My sweet son, when he gets up, will ease in here and sit a cup of coffee and glass of juice on my little desk here to help me get started. What a blessing that is. Sometimes he will look at me and then just gently touch my leg and tell me he knows it is a really bad start of the day and he is there for me. Simple words but what makes them so important is that they are words of care and words of action and he has taken the time to look into my eyes and see just how bad my pain is and to offer words of comfort. He did not have to give but a few minutes of time to do that and that meant a lot. I am so thankful for my sons, my home, my life.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you do not have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah
It does not take much to help another…words are beautiful tools if given from the heart. We do not need to hear about how your pain is just like ours even though you are heading out the door to go to work and I can not get up from the bed yet because my pain has totally disabled me at the moment. We do not need to hear about Aunt so and so who has it. We just need to hear you say you care and you understand as much as your experience allows it.
The construction crew will be here soon and I will have to make myself get on these crutches and head to son’s bed where he already has pillows and an extra comforter there for me and my day will start. And so will his as he follows the crew around watching all they do and he waters the garden and does the daily chores he does here.
Once I can move a little, the stretching exercises start because if I do not do them, like that old saying “use it or lose it” will happen. I fight to keep what muscle I have left and it is a tough fight but one I am not willing to let the disease win. I will lay on that bed with the stretchy bands making my legs go through motions to keep the muscles alive…with tears running down my face and fierce determination to keep doing it.
Jack will demand his few minutes of loving after I stop and am laying on my side waiting on the pain to once again lower itself to a point that I can move. He sticks his nose up over the edge of the bed and my hand finds his soft fur and I gently run my fingers through the fur around his face as I talk to him. If I stop, he nudges me just like he nudges me if I lose my oxygen during the night and would have trouble breathing. He would nudge me until I woke up and realized I was having trouble breathing and put it back on. Loving on a pet is a soothing thing and makes me smile. We have quite the conversation and he makes faces that make me lay there giggling in spite of the pain and I thank God for another day to keep fighting and for my sons and Jack and my home…all blessings.
“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one that you know you have for sure.” Oprah
We have no guarantees of tomorrow and if we do not live today, we may not be here tomorrow or later today or next week or whenever to live our lives to the fullest. This is why we should not be complacent and let the victim mentality overtake us. We should always be striving to be a survivor and a thriver.
Determination….attitude…choices….all important parts of everyone’s life and even more important in a chronically ill and/or disabled person’s life. I find I get mixed reactions when I state that and I think it is because some do not like knowing that they are responsible for their own happiness and for their lives. I have had some get mad at me but what really makes them mad is they know it is the truth and it strips them of the excuses as to why they are complaining or unhappy and they do not like that. It is so much easier to just be miserable and blame everything, the illness, people not being there for us, etc than it is to fight to make the day happier and meaningful. It is much easier for them to be a victim rather than the work it takes to be a survivor.
It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. ~Noël Coward, Blithe Spirit
I have had people want to copy me being sick but not want to copy my fight. I have had people tell me that I was just so much stronger and when I would say no I am not….it is all a choice. You choose to not be strong…and they get mad. I believe when we choose to give in, we choose to be a victim. Starting out as a victim is not our choice…remaining there is and many will remain a victim their whole lives because they like being a victim.
I have had people un-friend me because I did not have the money or would not give the money that they so desperately wanted. I believe a real friend does not base their love for you on what you can do for them. People will soon learn that a person who is only after what they can get is not a real friend. A real friend does not base your worth on how much money or possessions you can give them. When they choose only those that give them money, and abandon those that really loved and accepted them, they have lost more than they can ever regain.
You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. ~James D. Miles
I had a person tell me that they “acted weak and unable to do things because they liked the attention” and I said “you do know one day people will get tired of always having to take care of things that you are capable of doing yourself and of being made to entertain you when you can do that yourself too”. They actually said they knew that but were going to “milk it for all it was worth” while they could just like they took advantage of people’s generosity of money when they really did not need it and would then spend it on things other than paying those medical bills such as buying jewelry or other luxuries. I do not believe in that. They loved being a victim and used it to gain attention and money. I value my self-respect and prefer to do for myself the things I can do instead of taking advantage of others.
Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught. ~J.C. Watts
When I ask for help, it is because I truly need it…like right now the raising of money for all these trips to and from the doctor over the next few weeks. This is the second time that transportation needs have arisen and when I reached the amount of money we needed for me to go to Colorado Springs for the heart catheterization that time, I removed the donation button. I was not out to line my pockets or get ahead off the hard-earned money of others nor take advantage of their generosity. And I stopped the donations because I wanted people to know that…to know I was honest and only needed a little helping hand not thousands of dollars that I could spend on what I want or to get a couple of thousand ahead. My heart says those that give would love to be “ahead” too with their hard-earned money and would not like being scammed. That is why I can not do that.
You do not wake up one morning a bad person. It happens by a thousand tiny surrenders of self-respect to self-interest. ~Robert Brault
Life is what we make it with the tools and things we have. We can make it a happy life, a fulfilling life…in spite of our health or we can make it a life of depending on others for things we can do ourselves because we feel we are owed it. Life does not owe us. People do not owe us. We owe ourselves to live our lives to the fullest.
And for me…my life..even when I am knocked to the floor and laying here looking at the stars…contains much beauty that still remains for me to see.
image from quotestoliveby4u.com
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