Sunrise or sunset? Which do you think this is? I am sure that if I caption it one or the other, I could persuade you to believe me. It is all in how I frame it for you, yes? I am beginning to appreciate the phenomenon of seeing the glass half empty or half full, depending on one’s frame of mind.
I turned 50 this year. Did I roll my eyes at the prospect of having to celebrate another birthday? Yes. How do I feel about ageing, gracefully or otherwise? I am not sure.
If you had asked me a few months ago how I saw myself starting this new year of my life, I would have shrugged and said, it’s just another birthday. I would have maybe told you that my time is winding down, and it is the time for the young to have their moment. I might have said that I am content with where and who I am, and live with no regrets or ambitions.
I did not, however, anticipate facing a life-threatening illness & having a death-defying experience, or being fitted for dentures having lost a front tooth in the hospital, or shearing my short locks even shorter on account of my hair falling out in alarming amounts.
As I write this today, I am still not sure why I have been given this second chance at life. I may have thought that I had found my place in this world, but what I have to do is not yet done. At the risk of sounding like the manic planner that I once was, I am still waiting for God’s plan for me to unfold. Fortunately for me, I am a lot more zen about life now, and am happy to watch and wait.
Having said this, there are a few things of which I am certain.
I am loved.
The account of my ICU experience has been played and continues to be replayed to me by many. The 12 days of the coma are completely lost to me save what is reconstructed by my loved ones. Even after I started to emerge from the deep sleep, things were very hazy and fraught with hallucinations and unreliable memories.
I am the miracle of the ICU pneumonia patient who survived. This is not something to take lightly, as I have been reminded. What strikes me each time I relive the experience is the prayer, concern and love that surrounded me, not just from my extended family, but from friends & communities from far & wide. I was wrapped in prayer, and surrounded by heartfelt pleadings on my behalf.
Even now, when I speak of this experience, I continue to find out that someone else had prayed for me. I am humbled and grateful.
I am not indispensable.
If the situation had played out differently and I had passed on to my Heavenly Home, I know now that Loving Husband & Daughters would be fine.
Loving Husband loves me so much that he was willing to do everything possible to help me return back to Life, but also was willing to let me go had the need arose. He is a man who knows my heart and will respect my wishes when it comes down to the crunch.
My beautiful, strong Older Daughter’s response humbles and touches me: when I was in the coma, she told her father that she had come to terms that I was possibly gone and was reconciled to it. Anything that happened beyond that was a bonus to her.
Dear sweet Younger Daughter, tender & big-hearted, struggled a great deal with my absence. Her ability to cheer me on even when I could not respond touches me. Her willingness and desire to draw comfort & strength from those around her is a reminder that we could all do better in accepting help & love from those who would pour into our lives. Because of this, I know she would have been fine.
My time on this world is temporal and is fleeting. I do what I can to share & love. When I am gone, I hope I will have left a legacy and be remembered. The best job I can do is to ensure that the things I do will continue in my absence.
I am Same-Same, but Different.
Some days I feel completely fine. On other days, when my ribs spasm as I am trying to yawn, I wonder if I remember what normal is (I’m not sure what that means anymore). I am excited though, to think of this as an opportunity to get to a place where I will be and feel better than ever; that’s where I’m headed.
This is my opportunity to live outside my Self & my Comfort zone. I think twice now before I retreat into my unsociable-ness. I try to be a little more like my Loving Husband: more others-centred. I don’t always succeed, but I am working at it. Change doesn’t come easily to me, but I have every reason to try.
Apparently, I made some resolutions while in the hospital: write that elusive Book, sing that Thanksgiving Psalm in church, experience & enjoy many things like it’s the first time. Why not? What harm is there in trying to live life a little?
Sunrise or Sunset? I don’t think it really matters; it’s just a matter of perspective. This is the chance I have been given for a life even more extraordinary. All I have to do is take it.
Feature photo is taken at sunset at Keppel Island, April 2016