Sunday 17-5-20

13:23pm

REASONS TO BE GRATEFUL

We are all living in a crazy time right now. I am sure none of us thought, as we counted down into the new year, that we would be entering a time of isolation. We all had plans, things we hoped to achieve this year. But that was all taken out of our hands. Now, we have to remain indoors until it is safe. Meaning, we MUST postpone all of our plans. Some had to cancel their weddings, cancel breakthrough opportunities, cancel special holidays and birthdays that they spent a long time saving up for. A lot of people have had the misfortune of losing people they love. Life is very unpredictable.

My year started off extremely different to what I am used to. Just like most of you, I am someone who has hardly had any experience of life threatening situations. At the end of 2019, I spent my Christmas having the best time with my family in Ghana. Everyone was happy as most of my family flew out there to spend the holidays together. On return, in January. Out of the blue, my father became sick. It began gradually, with him going to and from the hospital for check ups, but it didn’t occur to me how serious it was, as my parents would usually bounce back from any mild illness. There was one day I insisted to go along with my father to one of his check ups, together with my mother and aunt, as he appeared to be getting worse. My father did not want me to come as it was just the beginning of the pandemic and preferred I stayed home. I refused and went along with them. It was a long wait at the hospital, my dad hoped he would be returning home with us that day. Unknowingly, that day, was the beginning of a long couple of months of daily hospital visits. 

My mother grew tired as she would drive to work, then straight to the hospital, then would return home having only enough energy to have her first proper meal of the day. Every single day, for two months, were spent going to the hospital from 6am and returning home at 9pm. Surprisingly, the hours flew by quickly. A few of my family members, stayed with us during those dreaded hours in the waiting room. There was no tv, so we just had each others conversation to keep us going. Though, I cherished that as I formed deeper bonds with them since it was the most time I have spent with them in my whole life. My aunt and cousin would stay the night, sleeping on the hospital seats, and would not leave until my mother and I reached the hospital in the mornings. They would pray throughout the night nonstop. It gave me great comfort to know they were there so I was extremely grateful for that. My mother always wanted to stay the night but she had to work the next day. 

After a couple of weeks of this, It reached the day that we were told my father has to undergo a liver transplant as he has a low chance of survival. They also added that the procedure itself is very high risk with little chance of success as my father was very sick. This news hit me in the face like a truck. My mouth became numb and I felt like all the blood in my body had left. I felt helpless in that situation. All our hope relied in the hands of God, the doctors and nurses. It was a sudden change in life. What seemed like a light condition turned into something critical.

On the day of the operation, which took 7 hours, I was crying non stop. Just praying to God to give me my father back, my best friend. Or to please bring back my mothers happiness. I felt all the weight on my shoulders, from thoughts of how life will be if he goes. Things that I didn’t have to worry about taking care of came to my attention, as they are things my father would handle. It furthered the respect I have for him as it takes a strong person to deal with so much responsibility. My mother took me on a long walk. She prayed the whole way and told me how we must trust in God to get us through this. That we can not believe that he would abandon us at this time, as his word says that he will always be with us in times of trouble. I will never forget how strong my mothers faith was. 

After the longest 7 hours of my life, a doctor came to deliver us the news we had been tensely anticipating. She cleared our tears by letting us know that the operation was successful and that he is fine. She said the words I had been begging God to let me hear. My whole family rejoiced. My mother finally broke down crying out of relief of all her prayers coming to pass. That is the first time my mother cried throughout the entirety of this situation. Everyday my father became better little by little. Now, he dances and laughs with us, back to his normal self. Not only do I see my dad as my hero and my best friend, but now a walking miracle. Sometimes I really question if I went through that experience earlier this year. I can never take my parents for granted again. 

I urge you to please appreciate your parents, carers and loved ones in your life as they are not here forever. They can be taken away at any time. Never would I believe, that I would have gone through such a life changing experience, this early in my life. I just expected for my parents to be healthy until they became old as they have no medical conditions. It was really out of nowhere. Therefore you must be grateful for them any chance you get. I thank God for them everyday. 

I know sometimes some people you love can get on your nerves, make you angry or frustrated because it is just a natural human thing to feel. But in those moments, remember that they are the people who love you the most. They are the ones who want what is best for you. They are the ones you cannot live without. 

There are many things we can be grateful for. I am sure this pandemic has helped you to appreciate the things we expected to always be available. For example, freedom, to be able to visit your loved ones, travel, attend social events, meet new people, just to name a few. We never know when things can be taken away so now is the best time to appreciate them.

I would like to share with you some ways that helped me to become more grateful. 

  1. Practise contentment and gratitude
  2. Stay in the present, do one thing at a time.
  3. Slow down and take life at a manageable pace.
  4. Allow and accept the different feelings you experience, knowing that these will change throughout the day. 
  5. Know what matters to you, personally – what you stand for and what your values are. 
  6. Small gestures of kindness go a long way. Honour your important relationships in some way, every chance you get.  
  7. Don’t say anything you don’t mean. 
  8. Distinguish what’s important and what will matter down the road, from what is temporary – or seems worthwhile in the moment.  

After reading this, I challenge you to make someone smile today. 

Love always,

Raquel♡