Twenty four hours. One day.
Some days pass uneventfully and we hardly notice them. Others bring surprises – sometimes good and sometimes bad – that leave a lasting impression.
The twenty four hour period between this past Thursday afternoon to Friday afternoon was full of unpleasant surprises for me.
First, my cat was involved in a totally freakish accident. I won’t go into the gruesome details, but let’s just say she managed to get herself into a predicament that was a first for our veterinarian’s office. And she had emergency surgery that very night.
Next, as I arrived at the office Friday morning, I found out a co-worker had unexpectedly died that morning at around 5:00. Only a month ago he’d been told his cancer was in remission. Cancer that had been first diagnosed less than a year ago. Now, suddenly, he was gone.
To round things out, I visited my dad in the hospital that afternoon. He told me that the doctor had spent a lot of time with him shortly before I got there. It seems it is now very unlikely that Dad will make it to his birthday at the end of this month. He had been soldiering on in his own war with cancer for a little over a year now, and looks like it’s almost time to raise the white flag.
It was a very emotional and “heavy” twenty-four hours for me. Life is like that…it can throw you curve balls in a split second. If you’re not careful, they can knock you down.
I will choose to look on the bright side of things. My kitty’s appearance is now forever altered. But she survived, and she’ll always be adorable in my eyes anyway.
My co-worker was a Vietnam veteran, and lived his life fully. I mean VERY fully! Despite his “hell’s angels” appearance, he was surprisingly very cultured and into the arts. He also had an incredible talent for finding steals while antiquing with his wife. He’d bring these diamonds in the rough (that he’d bought for pennies on the dollar) home and then refinish them to their original beauty. Having once experienced the horrors of war firsthand (he’d been a sniper!), this handyman’s hobby gave him years of therapeutic tranquility and a peaceful end to a remarkable life. He will be missed.
Finally, just over a year ago, I was told my dad only had a matter of months to live. He more than doubled what we had anticipated. And cancer can be a very cruel way to go. But Dad has enjoyed what time he’s had, and has been miraculously pain free with it. Sure, it hasn’t been a cake walk. Weakness set in pretty fast and he’s been more or less housebound except for doctors’ visits and trips to the hospital. And he’s had a lot of discomfort in his body for various reasons. But it hasn’t been overwhelming or unmanageable. And his mind is sharp as ever and he hasn’t taken the first pain pill in over a year. I am thankful for these blessings. And when the end does come soon, there will hopefully be a peace about his passing, even as it leaves a huge hole in the hearts of all of us who love him so dearly.
So when you wake up each morning, take a moment to appreciate the gift of life and good health. Don’t aimlessly wander through the day, using up precious moments that you’ll never get back. Make the most out of each day, and hope that everyone has a good surprise in store for you. If you make the effort to notice all the great things that life has to offer, then maybe it will help us handle the unpleasant things a little better when they come our way.