One year ago today Brennis quit smoking. That's what Brennis wants to call it now but it also happens to be the first anniversary of Brennis' heart attack.
Coming up to this anniversary has caused a lot of emotional upheaval for both of us the last few weeks. Just simple things like the warm summer air, gardening and our local Blues Festival are bringing back very vivid memories about that day, that week and that summer last year when our world changed.
I don't generally like to dwell on the past but there was something so monumental and meaningful about that event for us that it has made us both reflective and thoughtful. I think mostly I am grateful. I am, of course, grateful that Brennis made it through that day and the year since without any complications and is healthier now than he has been in many years. I am thankful that we have made it through this year surrounded by friends and family who have been there for emotional, physical and financial support and who remain our friends even though our needs have been great at times. I am grateful for so many things it would be impossible to list them all.
What I remain most grateful for, however, is what I was able to take away from that day a year ago. It is what I have been writing about over the last two months....the feeling that the things that have happened to me (to us) happened for a reason. I will never say that I know the reason but it is evident to me that there was something purposeful about our experience last year that I will forever know to be forged by a power greater than myself and knowing that power has given me the strength and courage to try to become the person I most want to be.
I think I thought when I started this blog that I wanted to teach people things that I had learned. What I realized, however, is that people didn't need to learn anything. They just needed to know they weren't alone. We are all essentially on our own out here in the world. We don't really know how we got here, what our purpose is and how we are supposed to get through this life but we are all doing the best we can with what we've got. What happened to Brennis last year has allowed me to be more honest with myself about how "alone" I have felt in this life and how the connection with other people makes that feeling dissipate.
This anniversary will come and go and it will roll around again next year and hopefully it won't be so emotionally charged. It is good to remember what happened so I can renew my gratitude and remember that we didn't travel this path alone. I don't, however, want to live the rest of my life in the past. Today is a stepping stone to the next journey (whatever that may be) and I am excited to see it unfold in front of me.
The only part about that day a year ago that I play over and over in my mind is the decision to go to the emergency room. We could just as easily have chosen to wait and not go to the emergency room that day and I may have lost Brennis. Remembering that fact helps me to remember that the only thing we are guaranteed in this life is this moment. We are here now. We are alive. And whatever state we are in we need to savor it, be thankful for it and, if possible, share it with people we love.
Please take an opportunity today to tell someone that you love them. Do something nice for someone who isn't expecting it. Bring someone flowers. Call an old friend. Never forget that this moment right now is your life. Please live it and for God's sake.....please don't waste it.