I have the privilege of sharing my story with women from all walks of life. To watch someone’s eyes change as they hear and embrace hope… well… there’s nothing else like it. So when Emily invited me to be a part of her series, “Questions Everyone Is Asking But No One Wants To Answer” I gladly accepted. Em is the Founder of BecomingMe.tv and is making it her life’s mission to help women find their voice through the power of sharing their story. And friends, this is only the beginning.
My prayer is that something in this video will resonate with you and move you to positive action. May ours eyes be opened to the truth of what we are… a masterpiece in the making.
This post is my father, John Riley‘s, words. If you’ve heard him speak you will be able to hear him within these writings. I hope he will continue talking about the lessons he’s learning through his personal journey into grief that began in the Fall of 2015 after the sudden death of his brother, Buddy. As long as he keeps telling stories, I’ll keep typing.
Our hope is that these raw renderings will provide some much-needed relief and hope to those who are new to pain and loss. The ones among us who suffer silently while wishing for the person who understands to share their experience so they can say, “Really? Me too!”
I would encourage you to listen to the newly added audio with dad reading the post. Hearing a story read by its author gives it the ability to come alive. It will also give you a glimpse into why he is such a gifted communicator.
When someone in a white lab coat with the letters M.D. on the end of their name that’s stitched on the pocket, starts talking about you and a catheter in the same sentence, it’s sobering.
Once you get to thinkin’ about the reality of the proposed solution for what you hope is a temporary problem, it can really getcha down.
So… you have conversations… with said catheter and you get real honest. It may sound something like this, “You and I are not going to be friends but, we’ll put up with each other as long as we have to and then we’re through!”
For me, it was only a month. For many, it can be the rest of their lives.
Now y’all, that’s serious.
I don’t mean this to be too light hearted. It’s just that, trying to learn from it was better than cryin’ and cussin’ and carryin’ on… I suppose.
So, here are three things I learned from my catheter. Excuse me, THE catheter. I never wanted to own the thing.
1.- Pain can have benefits… if you let it.
Well, shoot! It’s hard to say what the benefits are because I can’t really think of many, but mainly you appreciate times of no pain.
After two weeks when I was told by my doctor (who is absolutely fantastic), “Sorry, we have to wait another week and another test.” I was upset. I had to process it.
It was only then that I could be thankful for this thing, discomfort and all, making it possible for me to heal inside.
So, I was extremely grateful that I was improving and that the greater percentage of my body was pretty healthy.
I also found gratitude for whoever invented the catheter. (That sounds weirder than I thought it would.) But seriously, I got really thankful for all the lives this person saved, including mine. Without this dang catheter, I would have already exploded five times over! Now, that’s enough to make even me grateful.
2.- Compassion has been defined as entering into the sorrows of another person and thereby showing mercy. I think that’s the way it goes?
How could I possibly enter into someone’s sorrow when I had never had the same sorrow?
I have been through the deaths of… well… everybody in my family older than I am, but this was my first time with a catheter. Now I can really feel for someone who has to have this great invention for a day, or for life.
Also, it teaches me that even though I don’t know personally what someone else is going through, I can know that it’s hard… even though I’ve not experienced the same thing. I thought I understood what it meant to be empathetic, but I’m not sure I ever truly have… before this. I hope that I will never again be unconcerned about another person’s problem.
3.- Make adjustments
By this, I don’t just mean which leg to put the bag on… but everything… well almost everything, you’ve done for many years.
Here are just a few that I have learned… fast… ’cause I didn’t have a choice.
Sleeping – don’t move around much. Get accustomed to sleeping on your back and your side. It’s not bad… except for sometimes… when it is.
Shower – unplug, clean, replug, dry… always makes ya feel better.
Dress – got me a whole new set of underwear, relaxed and unrestricted.
I didn’t realize boxers could be so comfortable! Wear ’em all the time now.
I have some that look like shorts, but the other day at my little community bank I go to, my friend the loan officer told me he could tell they were underwear. Oh well…
Loose pants are my friend. Especially sweat pants. But on days when the temperature in Alabama is 85 degrees, it looks kinda weird. So… I just stayed at home a lot.
Walking – was sometimes pretty easy, annnnd sometimes not.
Most of the time it felt like I was walkin’ with my legs spread like I just got off a horse. Nobody seemed to really notice except for one friend who did say to me, “Why are you walkin’ so funny?!” “It’s a long story!” I thought to myself. I have lots of conversations in my own head these days. Know what I mean?
Exercise – wasn’t on the agenda. Every day made me look forward to the time I could really start back exercising and made me feel a deep concern for those who never can.
So, the catheter has taught me to be open to learning new ways of doing things. As I get real close to being 70 years of age, it makes me realize I want to keep growing.
Considering these three things, I hadn’t really thought of it, but maybe the catheter was my friend? However, I’m not gonna have it framed and hang it on the wall. (Can you imagine?! Yuck!)
What are you going through that people can’t necessarily see, but is making a huge impact in your everyday? Has it taught you a kind of gratitude that you never knew you wanted to learn?
Henceforth, I will repeat these words
each hour, each day, everyday,
until the words become as much a habit as my breathing and
the action which follows becomes as instinctive as the blinking of my eyelids.
With these words, I can condition my mind to perform every action
necessary for my success. I will act now.
I will repeat these words again and again and again.
I will walk where failures fear to walk. I will work when failures seek rest.
I will act now,
for now is all I have.
Tomorrow is the day reserved for the labor of the lazy. I am not lazy.
Tomorrow is the day when the failure will succeed. I am not a failure. I will act now.
Success will not wait.
If I delay, success will become wed to another and lost to me forever. This is the time.
This is the place.
I am the person.”
~ Og Mandino Augustine “Og” Mandino II
(December 12, 1923 – September 3, 1996)
Bestselling book The Greatest Salesman in the World.
His books have sold over 50 million copies and have been translated into
over twenty-five different languages.
He is an inductee of the National Speakers Association’s Hall of Fame.
“O God, for another day, for another morning, for another hour, for another minute, for another chance to live and serve Thee, I am truly grateful.
Do Thou this day free me from
all fear of the future,
all anxiety about tomorrow,
all bitterness towards anyone,
all cowardice in the face of danger,
all laziness in the face of work,
all failure before opportunity,
all weakness when Thy power is at hand.
But fill me with Love that knows no barriers, Sympathy that reaches to all, Courage that cannot be shaken, Faith strong enough for the darkness, Strength sufficient for my tasks, Loyalty to Thy Kingdom’s goal, Wisdom to meet life’s complexities, Power to lift me to Thee.
Be Thou with me for another day, and use me as Thou wilt.
For Christ’s sake I pray.
“Y’all, the holidays are rapidly approaching. Are you ready for this…there are 9 more Saturdays until Christmas. We are being plunged into that time of year when patience is low, demands are high and sleep doesn’t fit on our to-do list.
There’s a reason why multiple case studies show that addiction is the highest during the holiday season. It’s the most difficult time to stay sober. I think in part because we’re surrounded by people who trigger all kinds of emotions. It’s also a time when everything around us says we should be feeling a certain way. For those of us who have always bucked up against conformity, we don’t like for people or things to tell us how to feel.
Yesterday, October 19th, by the grace of God, I reached my 12th year of sobriety. I am now a productive member of society (most days). The road was long and filled with twists, turns and dead ends. There were a lot of tears and pleading with my Higher Power. There was uncertainty among the rubble of my indiscretion. There were times when I felt hopeless.
And then something changed. Have you noticed how everything starts with a decision?”
I lie awake, staring at the ceiling fan turn round and round, wondering if sleep will ever come.
The cicadas make their presence known outside the window. Their sound has become a lullaby of sorts throughout the summer. A familiar bedtime routine just before sleep.
Where did the summer go? Why have I not been more present? The regimented moments of the school year will soon ensue.
Bella’s gone…again. Every time she leaves it’s the same hollow ache. Raw pain is the worst kind. There’s no time to heal before the wound is reopened.
In the stillness of night, everyone sleeps. My mind reels, offering no reprieve.
“God, please help me find that peace that passes all understanding.” I whisper. Gratitude is the word that sprints to the forefront of my mind. Thankful. Acknowledge, Receive, Bask in the goodness, share it with others.
Only inches away, my lover sleeps.
His strong sculpted arms now resting and still.
The legs that carry him through a day of work are relaxed.
The beautiful back that sustains and provides for our family, now stretched out in slumber.
The shoulders that carry the weight of responsibility, nestle into the bed that knows and gives way to his form.
Rest is such a gift and a beautiful thing to witness.
His chest rises and falls.
Nothing sounds as sweet as life.
My love. That one. The only one to conquer and reign over my heart.
I adore him. And the breath he breathes is the sweetest air of all.
I move closer to his warmth. Smiling…I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this man.
A girl like me, living a life like this. Having been thoroughly cleansed, now cloaked in grace.
I close my eyes.
Sleep will be here soon.
Quiet tears of thanks run down my face, into my pillow.
The realization that I would follow this man anywhere, settles in.
Where he is, I am. He is home.