I am feeling very emotional today, I can’t seem to stop crying, but they aren’t tear of sadness, they are tears of reflection and gratitude for last year and tears of hope for the future.
I lost my Dad this year. He physically left this earth on April 9 of 2015 with his family by his side, but he had left us mentally long before that. He had Alzheimer’s and had quickly slipped away from us into his own world where he no longer knew our names. The disease took him quickly and not a day goes by that I don’t think about him and I miss him more than I ever could have imagined.
I have had a year of relative stability health wise, that’s not to say that there haven’t been challenging days, but no shocks from my device is a good thing. I still have days where I am tired and end up sleeping a lot, days that I am afraid to leave the house and days that anxiety is super high but I have managed to accomplish some pretty cool things despite all of that.
In 2015 I became a volunteer. Last April, I helped raise funds for The Art Studios a place that I love and believe in, they have been there to help me face my issues with Mental Illness by offering free art therapy and a safe place for me to learn and be creative. They have gotten me out of the house during times that I would not have made the effort and I have been able to lose myself in painting and pottery. I am a better person because of art.
I also became a Patient Voice. I have been given a couple of opportunities to contribute my voice and experience within the health care system to help makes things better. One of the things that I am very proud of is sitting on a committee of dedicated human beings who want to make screening for people and families at risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest more accessible. I am fortunate to live in the city of Vancouver where I have access to the very best doctors and clinics, there are many people across Canada who do not have that same kind of access. The goal of this committee is to make the experience of all Cardiac Arrest patients universal across the country, allowing them to be able to get the resources they need and to get tested for the many Inherited Rhythm Disorders in order to save lives.
I was also asked to contribute as a patient voice to a monthly newsletter called The Inherited Heart Rhythm Times. My very first article was on Stress and Creativity. It was a cool moment for me to see my little article in print and to know that people enjoyed reading it. These are the things that help me feel productive again, they don’t require a lot of my time, but it helps me to know that I am giving back and helping others and I am focusing on good things.
The very best thing is that I found a way to soften some of the hard places within myself that I have built up over the years and learned to LOVE more. I have learned that gratitude is a preferable way to live my life and that even bad things have a silver lining. I’m still not perfect, but life feels a whole lot more hopeful when you embrace the positive.
So, today, tell the people you love that they are important to you, look in the mirror, deep into your own eyes and tell yourself you are perfect as you are and forgive all the wrongs you think have been done to you. Let it all go, wipe the slate clean, start the new year fresh and put your whole heart into it.
2016 is going to be an awesome year.