These are just a scattering of terms that I owe to all of you.
Four years is a long time to recover. Four years is a long time for your continued support, but you have never given up on me, which in turn, causes me to not give up on myself. We have been granted a gift of 86,400 seconds in a day, it only takes the use of one of those seconds to say, "Thank You" but I am going to use quite a few more than that today.
Silent gratitude is not much use to anyone, so
It amazes me that the effects of this collision have spread so far. Society may not know my name, but I hear, " Ohhhh, you're the one, " quite often. I receive hugs from citizens that I do not know because they said a prayer for my family and I in church. The same goes for cards, texts and private messages. They start by explaining who they are and that they have a friend who knows us personally and felt compelled to write us. Then............there is you. Still receiving random, "how are you doing?" messages or cards. I receive the best hugs when I venture into town. Smiles are everywhere and if one of those smiles are a little droopy, then I hug you and you have no choice but to hug me back, because that would just be bad manners.
I rarely shake hands anymore unless the occasion truly calls for it, I encompass my acquaintance in my skinny, woman arms and hope they feel every bit of indebtedness that I have. I have so much to give and give back.
I cannot recall if I have communicated this story to you or not, but this moment calls for it.
When I roused in my room after one of the surgeries, I'm not sure if it was my personality, God or something called Dilaudid, but I awoke in a great mood. As long as I received my medicine routinely I was in moderate pain, light-hearted and didn't think much about my situation. While I was holding my Mom's hand after a surgery I vividly recall a divine sense of prayer. I spoke genuinely to her, " Mom, I can feel everyone praying for me, I can feel it. That's why I feel so good." I can only think of one way to explain this titillation. When you watch how fans 'people surf' at a rock concert, there are many hands supporting that person as they travel along the crowd. This is how I felt about everyone who was praying for us. You were carrying me with prayer at a time when I could not carry myself. It's an inspiration that I could never forget.
When I speak of "you", I speak of everyone. My family, friends, acquaintances and unique strangers that took time to help me, even in thought. My family put their lives on hold until I could function on my own. Our children practiced patience, nurturing and bred independence in their new roles, while my mind, body and spirit were reclaimed. There were times when my own light diminished and was rekindled by a spark sent by one of you, whether you knew this or not. I will never be afraid of saying a prayer or sending a message to someone because of awkwardness. It was at the oddest junctures that a short note from someone revitalized my ambition to survive and live, like I wanted to live.
It is said that, "if you were not grateful for what you had before, that you could never be grateful for what you are to get." I believe this to be true. I do not wish this experience on anyone, it is painful in so many ways. I am grateful to live thirty-five years as I did, but I am grateful to live any way I can now. This is a promise to you, that I will pay it forward til the end of my life here on this earth.
If there was a way that I could touch you, to transfer my emotion of appreciativeness, so you could feel what is in my heart, you could have endless peace just from that smallest gesture.
Gratitude has, undeniably, been my best attitude.