I'm going to get personal here, even more than I may have ever done in the past. Today, it doesn't matter whether you're a gardener, a bank executive, or a social worker. It doesn't matter whether I am either. For the past ten years, this weekend in January has always been an important one in my life. Because of my life. I'm still living it.
My neighbor asked me the other night how I can remember dates so well, when we discussed what happened ten years ago. I told him, "When you've been given a second chance at life, believe me, you remember it."
I've spoken before about the illness that nearly took my life. If you've ever experienced bacterial meningitis (Neisseria meningitidis) or know someone who has, you know the seriousness of it. There is a commercial on TV right now that shows children on a playground, seemingly healthy and happy. The voiceover says, "This is what bacterial meningitis looks like just 24 hours before it takes a life." It's true.
I won't go into the details of that weekend. For one thing, I spent half of it and a day, unconscious. But I remember how I felt before everything went black and I remember how long it took to recover.
Two comments people say to me on a regular basis when they learn of my miraculous healing, are "I'll bet you live your life differently now," and "God must have had a bigger plan for your life." Perhaps. I have always been one to be watchful for opportunities and take them when possible. But I do have a new appreciation for those that live with chronic pain, the one remaining effect I have that has indirectly been blamed on the meningitis.
As far as the purpose for my life - I am convinced that God didn't answer those hundreds of prayers that were said on my behalf, for my own purposes. Without me, Romie would have been left to raise two teenage daughters on his own. Jenna was 16 and Kara was 18. What a daunting task that would have been.
So on this, the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the rest of my life, I thank God for the many, many blessings that have come my way. I can't begin to list them all, but as I look back over these years, I think I am the most thankful that I was here to experience the transformation of our two girls into lovely young women.
Together with Romie, we have experienced their high school and college graduations, numerous sports accomplishments and awards, relationships that culminated in marriages, and success in their chosen fields. They are good and happy girls who love their families and their God. What more could two parents ask for?
I would be remiss if I didn't give my mom a special thanks. She spent three weeks with me, helping me begin my recovery. I have good memories of the time spent with her. We took my first walk outside in the yard on a warmish winter day to cut forsythia branches for forcing. She cleaned my house as only my clean-freak mom can do. (Just kidding, Mom! Want to do it again?) She cooked for me so I would have nutritious meals, helping me to heal faster. We read Winnie-the-Pooh together because she knew I loved it and she'd never read it herself as a child.
Thanks to fabulous doctors, good people praying, and a wonderful family's love, life does indeed go on...
Sunday, January 18, 2009