Today is Thankful Thursday. Instead of listing obvious things I’m thankful for (e.g., family, food, etc.,), I’m going to dig a little deeper. Here are some things that I am thankful for, in no particular order:
- When I was about 10 years old, I lived in an apartment complex and we had a community pool. One weekend day during the summer, it seemed like half the city was at our pool. Anyway, while in the pool, I witnessed some kids my age making fun of another kid for doing the “dead man float”. Why they were ridiculing him I have no idea. I looked at him, and realized he was blue and had his mouth open. For some reason, I instinctively knew something was wrong. I tried to “wake him” up but he was unresponsive. I pulled him over to the side of the pool and yelled for my mother to help me. Panic ensued. There were no cell phones back then so someone had to run to their apartment to call 911. In the meantime, I ran out of the pool, to our apartment, got my father who rushed to the pool and gave the boy CPR. This all seemed to occur within a matter of minutes. The young boy literally came back to life before my eyes. To this day, I will never forget the cries and screams of his mother who was hysterical. The boy survived. He had no permanent brain damage and he was able to return to a normal life. I have often wondered about how this man is doing (as he is around my age). Is he happy? Does he have a family? Does he remember the incident? Most of all, I am thankful that I was in the right place at the right time. This incident branded me at a young age with the realization that life is precious yet it can be taken from you at any moment.
- My first year of middle school was horrible (we called it junior high back then). I was in that awkward adolescence phase and always felt out of place, unattractive, and geeky. I also encountered many older bullies at this new school. Awful bullies. In addition, many of my elementary school friends ended up at different middle schools so I was feeling their loss while also struggling to make new friends. I didn’t like the school, didn’t like the teachers, and there was turmoil at home. One weekend, a new girl and her family moved into the apartment behind mine. We met the weekend she moved in and became instant best friends. Susan helped restore my self -esteem, brought me “out of my shell” so to speak, and was always there for me no matter what. She taught me how to be confident and deal with adversity. Susan actually saved my life so to speak as the weekend she moved in, I was so miserable I was contemplating suicide. ***Parents, please take ALL reports of bullying seriously. To this day, bullying causes kids/teens to feel so miserable and desperate that they feel the only way out is to take their own lives. Seek professional intervention if necessary. Do not ignore your child’s reports of bullying. Needless to say, I am ever grateful for the Earthly angel that is Susan.
- When I was pregnant with my daughter, I started having complications the second month of my pregnancy. I started bleeding so badly that I ended up going to the ER. I was young, single, and uninsured (that’s a story for another day). In my area, the hospital that accepted uninsured patients happened to be associated with a certain religion. After examining me, they told me that my child was spontaneously aborting herself and that there was nothing they could do about it. The religious guidelines of the hospital restricted them from interfering and removing the “dead fetus”. Yes, they told me that my child was dead. I was released from the hospital with a prescription for a sedative, instructions for “passing the fetus”, and a pamphlet about local religious organizations. To say that I was distraught is an understatement. After an unexpected intervention from one of my well connected friends, I was set up (the next day) with an appointment at a local OB/GYN who was well known and respected in the community. I went to the appointment feeling defeated, distraught, and fearful that this doctor would not see me due to lack of insurance. Not only did he see me, but he was kind and compassionate and very knowledgeable. He immediately admitted me to the hospital (a different one), determined what was causing the heavy bleeding and treated me for it. He stated that my fetus WAS NOT spontaneously aborting and was not dead. NOT DEAD!! He also referred me to a social worker in the hospital who was able to get me approved for emergency state medical insurance. He went above and beyond for me and just like I appreciated it then, I appreciate it now. Today, my daughter is a 19 year old college student alive and thriving thanks to the actions of Dr. M.
I am not writing about these events for the purpose of soliciting sympathy. I am writing about these events because although each was truly traumatic to go through, I am thankful for the outcomes. I am thankful for the lessons I learned and the person I have become as a result. Like it says in a popular country song, “…if you’re going though hell, keep on going…”. You never know what joy is on the other side.