A guest post by my friend Aimee

I offered to write something on gratitude
But I had no idea how difficult it would be to put into 1000 words or less,
The overwhelming amount that I feel
When I tried, I sounded like an annoying Pollyanna
I made myself a little sick reading what I’d written
Perspective is everything so I will attempt to give you mine

At the age of 35 I nearly died
I had a large aortic aneurysm
It was so large none of the medical professionals who saw it had ever seen one that big
A tech administering my follow-up echo after surgery said, “Oh I’m sure people have had aneurysms as large, they just died before they made it to the hospital.”
The emotional fall out for me was huge
I suffered anxiety, depression and I ended an 11 year relationship with my son’s Father.

At 36 the same disease that attacked my heart, attacked my eyes and I went legally blind for a period of time.
I was finally diagnosed with an often fatal, auto-immune disease and I spent the year fighting for my vision, my life, and custody of my child.

It was the year I turned 37, just after going blind, that I lost everything, but also gained everything
I could no longer work, I was in court trying to keep my child at least once a month, and I was in and out of the hospital and doctors offices just as often
For the first time in my life, probably since the age of 15, I had to rely heavily on others
I felt helpless and lost all sense of independence
My parents drove me everywhere and I was financially dependent on my boyfriend
I did not feel like an adult
But I was incredibly grateful to be surrounded by friends and family so willing to give and do so much for me.  It was during that time of dependence and vulnerability that I started to see and appreciate just how much good there was in my life

I am 38
Custody has been resolved and although my disease is not in remission, I can see enough to drive again
And I am starting to feel better overall
I don’t spend most of my days sick in bed or on the couch and I am able to help around the house, cook and run errands, lessening the burden on my now fiancé
He, supported, cooked, cleaned, and carried me through last year
He did not sign up for this at all
He met a very independent woman who never wanted to lean on anyone
And less than a year into the relationship he had to do everything for me and he did it all without question or a single complaint
My Father, who was never a person on which I could rely
Suddenly became a person on whom I could rely
And a lot of my childhood wounds, feeling abandoned by him, were finally healed
The number of friends and family who stood by, while I was humbled with weakness
And offered emotional support, kindness, and generosity overwhelms me
Last year taught me about the goodness in humanity
Even though it was a lesson taught through the most trying of times
I’m thankful for it
I view the horrible year, as a gift
It changed me and it changed how I conduct myself
I am a better person and I’m happier
My perspective on life has completely changed
And for that, I have nothing but gratitude

photo aimee

Aimee is a writer, and a mother of two boys, a dog, a cat, and five chickens.  She’d like to write prose, but each time she tries, she writes poetry.  Her hair is the color of corn at harvest, and her laughter makes each snapshot of her…perfectly, beautifully Aimee.

Aimee and I have been friends for nearly nine years, but have yet to  meet in person.  She is, and always has been, an inspiration to me, and my admiration for her grows all the time.
Throughout the month of November, I will be posting stories of change, gratitude, forgiveness, and grace — both my own words, and the tales of carefully selected guest voices.

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