The word (n) means 1) a person who survives, especially a person remaining alive after an event in which others have passed 2) the remainder of a group of people or things 3) a person who copes well with difficulties in their life 4) [law] a joint tenant who has the right to the whole estate on the other's passing. *
Each and every person who battles a #chronicillness or any illness for that matter, in my humble opinion, would be represented in definition number 3. Living with the day in and day out battles of anything incurable can be extremely breathtaking. Imagine waking up every morning with great uncertainty of the day ahead. You are forever at the mercy of your own flesh and blood yet your mind is as sharp as it was prior to falling ill. Perhaps your illness was thrust upon you at childbirth and you hold not the prompted recall of a life once known. Still there is a longing of just one glimpse of freedom. The fire of hope burns ever bright while the war wages on into the hallows of the midnight hour. Shall we not call upon the parties who were medically introduced into the life of chronic pain and heartache. The life once lived was stolen away by an unsteady hand in the blink of an eye as they awoke from a medically induced slumber only to find an entirely new life at hand. We are survivors. No matter the reason; no matter the cause we had to learn anew and reinvent the wheel, so to speak.
Live and let live is a term used often times in a frivolous manner. When one is trying to escape a responsibility we optimistically throw caution to the wind and call out, "oh, live and let live" but do we or are we? This phrase is also used in a manner meaning one should tolerate the opinions and behavior of others so that they will similarly tolerate our own. I find that explanation rather perplexing as it seems to be a "strings attached" version of acceptance. Further study finds a definition offering a clique to refrain from inserting ourselves into others affairs and preferences. I would applaud that version having spent time with coaches and executive coaching staff who believe it is wise and appropriate to be the best version of ourselves, without judging or metaphorically 'playing' in another persons sandbox. Live and Let Live is a declaration our population of survivors would do right by ourselves to put into daily practice! There is much to live for within our minds, hearts and spirits. I can share a brief piece of my story in this writing and maybe you will see why I am confident in who I am regarding this topic.
On October 31, 1991 I died. I was an adolescent at the time with the weight of the world on my shoulders. My family was a strong unit; however, like many we had our hills and valleys and at times it felt like an extreme version of heaven and hell on earth. My life experience far exceeded that of any other in my age group and I was drowning. I was brought up with a strong faith base and have the belief that my life is not my own to take but I had myself convinced that if I could just sleep for a few days that when I woke up, somehow all of my problems would disappear and all would be set right again. I was absolutely blinded. I overdosed on pills and that night I was dead. The story I was eventually told many, many years later while sitting in the kitchen at my sister's home was (extreme paraphrase) that my lips were blue, I was not breathing and the paramedics finally pounded on my chest hard enough with mouth to mouth resuscitation to bring me back into a breathing state; however, my eyes did not open. I was rushed to the hospital and remained in a coma for 3 days. The physicians allegedly pumped enough charcoal into me for an elephant (more likely a gross exaggeration but that is how I remember it and give credence that traumatic situations aid in different lenses and interpretation. I am relaying what I recall being told to me...the point is not in the numbers). I do know that the physicians warned my parents that if I were to come out of this coma that I would be in a vegetative state for the rest of my life. Obviously, this did not happen. I was given another chance at this life and frankly, I never wanted to pen this type of a story but I can say that I am forever grateful to be here serving so many on this earth.
This is merely one story of survival amongst many in the pages of my book. I have gone through many heartaches, false accusations, betrayals, unsuccessful medical treatments or procedures. I have experienced identity theft, trials in my marriage, a miscarriage, trying desperately to be accepted only to be rejected and the realization that I just needed to be comfortable with who I was because someone, somewhere is always going to try and find that one (or more) negative piece(s) in anyone's life. It is all relative anyway especially given the lens in which one is looking through. My personal development coaching process in 2007 / 2008 opened my eyes even farther to the self awareness journey of self love and healing reminding me to be the light as the lighthouse does. I do not need to come off of my post; I merely need to be light.
We are constantly going to have trials to win, hurdles to overcome, mountains to climb, the peering eye of judgment to smile at, the knife to shield our backs from and the storms of this life to work through in order to see the rainbow. These obstacles are always given and have to be faced with uncertainty even. What is most certain is you, how you choose to approach each one and the perspective, attitude and mindset in which you do so. I will say that for me, I try to remain as positive as I can even in my darkest hour. I have a close network in whom I confide in and that I trust varying in all walks of life. I allow myself much grace because let's face the gripping fact that chronic, #incurable anything is taxing let alone adding family, friends, #advocacy and #philanthropic ventures of any sort. We must be kind to ourselves. I would offer this extremely crucial #coaching nugget which I have tucked in my pocket from my personal development coach and that is to walk in your own truth. Every individual has theirs. If we are accepting of the other's truth then peace and harmony abound. If someone is unwilling to accept your truth and you are firm while being altruistic at the same time then any, even somewhat emotionally healthy, party should eventually exit without dramatic theatrics. Most important of all, love without conditions. We all have a past, a present and a future. To love another human and the human condition is to leave the proverbial shovel in the shed. I have seen, lived, made my own regrettable mistakes and thankfully have learned the error of my own ways in certain areas over the years and I can say that the world is a stronger, healthier and happier space when we use the dirt for planting as opposed to digging. I am; furthermore, wise enough to know that I still have a vast amount of knowledge awaiting with room for growth along with the rest of the greater population. Every round goes higher, right?
In closing, this month from October 16-22 it is #RightCareActionWeek. We as patients have an opportunity to share our stories regarding our patient care and whether or not we have received care sufficient, lacking or over and beyond our standards. I would say that during that evening of October 31, 1991 my family and I received great care otherwise I would not be typing this today. I am thankful for that piece of my journey even though I should have made a wiser choice. It did cost me some; however, as I was speaking to one of my fellow advocates to whom I have just recently connected with the other day, I choose to allow trying situations to make me better as opposed to bitter. There is always a choice, a lens perspective in which we can alter and a step that we can change in any direction. We are survivors in so many areas of our lives...all we have to do is look and then be thankful and grateful that we did. I hope you will Live and Let Live because there are so many reasons why you should. I believe in You. If you take away nothing from this blog other than this please know that you are treasured, you are valued and YOU are LOVED!