Sunrises & Sunsets

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.

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Sunrise at the Southern Ridges

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.

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Sunset overlooking the Swan Lake Gazebo, Singapore Botanic Gardens

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.

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Sunrise over ION Orchard, Shopping Mall & Residences, Orchard Road

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

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41 Replies to “Sunrises & Sunsets”

  1. Hi Ju-Lyn, I have been travelling and I have read your post just now. I am very sorry to hear you have had such an experience, I wish you a full recovery! The love and support of family and friends is very important at these times. As for sunrises and sunsets, my grandma used to say that we have to thank God when we wake up and when we go to sleep, because whatever happens life’s a gift. Never has this saying been more relevant to me than when battling cancer… So recover and enjoy life!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so sorry you and your family had to go through such an experience, Ju-Lyn! It sounds pretty horrible to me. And I´m so glad you´ve made it through and are now in the process of healing and discovering what it is your life is meant for. Life truly is a journey, and to slowly change and adept is all we can do in order to go with the flow. I often struggle to do this as well, but hope that more and more, and especially with age, I become better at it. You say you are fifty? Wow, you absolutely don´t look at it! Not at all! 😀 I wish you many happy returns, my friend! 😀

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    1. I am so very touched by your response, Sarah. Thank you for taking the time to share your feelings and thoughts, for the encouragement and support.

      Life indeed is a journey; and the joy that comes with travelling well, despite any obstacles we might encounter. Here’s to a learning & reflective journey for us all!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So scary to think that pneumonia could affect someone so strongly. I had it just a few years ago and then bronchitis the following year,I think. Seemed like it took forever to get back to full speed and yet I didn’t have to endure obviously nothing like you! It’s somewhat reassuring that your family can continue on if something like that happens, but it definitely brings about much more glory when you are given a second chance. So glad you have recovered and I hope that with your newfound craft of quilling, that it brings more beauty to your newly embraced life….♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Jennifer, for sharing your experience. There are days when I get just a little frustrated when I tire easily, so it is good to hear from others who share this experience.

      Thank you for talking Quilling with me – it is so fun to find fellow-enthusiasts!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Ju-Lyn, I have never lived through such an ordeal nor any member of my close family but I am glad I found you because now if something like this ever happens to one of us, I will know it is not the end of the world, it could mean the beginning of a new and better life for us !! … Thank you for sharing your experience – Juju roijoyeux from France

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, my dear friend. I don’t know how I missed this post, but I did. I am so sorry that you had to experience what you did and so sorry I, unaware, couldn’t send you my prayers and wishes for your recovery from then until now. I noticed and admired your new hair, but didn’t know its cause. How I admire your combination of spunk and sweet spirit, and the determination it must have taken to find your way to health. Again, I’m sorry I wasn’t more present for you.
    Fondly,
    Janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Janet, for your heart-warming words of support and affirmation. I am so touched to receive your well-wishes and am grateful for your friendship. Again, I am blessed with the reminder that distance doesn’t have to be an obstacle as we continue to share in the love of our craft and our friendships. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

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