Today, I am thankful.

December 24th, 2014

I guess as humans we often take things for granted, and I feel that unfortunately this is a part of our nature to do so. The age old saying ‘You don’t know what you have until its gone’ rings true, and it never became a cliché because no one thought it applied to their own situations in life.

If you are anything like me, taking the things in your life for granted is something you promised yourself you wouldn’t do, but somehow you soon find yourself amidst a quiet moment and realise somewhere along the way you’ve already forgotten to be thankful for the world and its belongings that comprise your life.

In saying that, it isn’t always easy to be thankful. When our struggles overwhelm us it becomes difficult to patiently await for the better to fall together, and it is so incredibly hard to be thankful for the things in this life that break your heart. This year has been a good example of that.

I really do believe that things happen for a reason, and that there is purpose in every heart ache. It’s something my parents used to tell me, and I choose to carry on that belief. We don’t always know why life doesn’t pan out the way we expect it to, but I tend to think that we go through harder times and take away from it a powerful lesson in surviving.

There’s been a couple of things this year that have tested my ability to be thankful. Losing one of my close friends to Cystic Fibrosis was perhaps the hardest. And im not entirely sure how to be thankful for that still, because for the most part, I still feel angry. But I guess if I really think about it, I am thankful that she is no longer suffering and I as I write this I am attempting to place a bigger emphasis upon being grateful for that than the selfish wish hear her warm ‘Hello’ once more instead.

And even if I never find out the purpose or reason for why she was taken away before what I feel was her time, she demonstrated a way of living I have strived to imitate since the moment she left this world behind for the heaven above. And I feel I am only ever going to be thankful to her for showing me what it means to live life passionately and love unconditionally.

A second struggle of mine this year was much less of a heartache than the first, but equally as testing in an entirely different way. The transfer to medical nursing has been a tough one. Five months onwards, I think the thing that really bothers me about it is that patients come to us having lived a full life, having been independent, and in one moment lost the ability to walk, talk, and live life as they always have. Having a stroke impacts a life so immensely in ways that only seem incomprehensible until it happens and suddenly my patients are, more often than not, looking at a life spent in an aged care home if the stroke is in fact survivable.

And it breaks my heart that in this medical ward I seem to be the stop-over point between a life able to be outrageously and fully lived, to a life limited by a moment in time where the human brain was compromised. I hate that the care I give doesn’t make it better, it doesn’t give these beautiful patients back their ability to move and speak like they did before. It doesn’t change the outcome, and somehow to me, this doesn’t feel like im being a good enough nurse. And I know that’s not a fair statement to say, because I know that simply spending time with these patients and their families to provide comfort cares means the absolute world. But in the depths of my heart, I vividly wish time and time again that I could give back to these patients what they lost.

With the New Year rapidly approaching, and the return to my much loved surgical ward in February (Yes! That does mean I got the permanent position there!!! And I am very excited to go ‘home’ to my surg family!), I can’t help but somehow be thankful for the experience that medical nursing has been. And yes, while I haven’t found the enjoyment and fulfilment that I was hoping to there, I have taken a moment to be thankful for the opportunity to smile brightly in the face of my struggle – pretend smile or not – and bring a little light into someone else’s life. I have been exposed to the power that kind words and a caring heart can have upon a patient when they lose all hope in themselves and I have been so very privileged to share in their health journey even though improved health outcomes are often not expected.

I these two struggles of mine this year have shown me a lot about humanity and the immense difference you can personally have in someone’s life. You alone can make a difference, and that knowledge is so empowering. In a world where there is more anguish depicted on the six-oh-clock news than triumph, I feel that it is our responsibility to restore faith in all human kind and never forget that thankfulness is the core of a heart better than gold.

Today, I want you to hug the ones you love and be thankful for the life you have, the ability you have to live it so wonderfully and the struggles that have defined you in ways you may not yet realise.

Merry Christmas to you all, shine bright!

d x

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