Monday, November 14, 2011

Giving thanks!

For over thirteen years I have been traveling my ra journey.  I have taken claim to it.  I have carried it in silence at times, I have carried it in pain at times, I have tried to hide it at other times, and I have acknowledged that it will be with me for the rest of my life.  And today, I try desperately to celebrate it the best I can. But, I could not have traveled this journey alone.  I have so many that I want and I need to thank for helping me, supporting me, celebrating me, and caring for me along the way.

To all of you, from the bottom of my heart, I want to acknowledge that you have been there...

To my daughter who was there from day one and saw me cry, saw me scream, saw me curse at times and saw me overcome the trials of ra, I thank you.  You not only gave me the will to go on but you gave me the courage to do it with determination and to gather hope along this journey.  You were there when I got up in the morning greeting me with your sweet smile.  You were there when, only at seven, your wisdom and encouragement pushed me on.  Your tender little hand outstretched to help me to my feet, your concerned eyes allowing me to mother from the couch when I was to weak to rise,  your understanding that something major was wrong with your mommy, your determination to keep me here with you and your wisdom that this was going to be a life long journey and not a short walk....thank you my sweet angel.  Without you I am not sure I could have kept on through some of the pain. I am not sure I would have found the courage to take the drugs in the hope of staffing off the progression of my ra. I am just not sure I would have kept on keeping on. I truly believe that God puts people into our lives for a reason and I have no doubt you were placed in my life for your kindness, for your wisdom beyond your years and for your grace on this earth. Thank you.

To my son, now thirty, I could not have done the early journey without you. You gave up so much to help out when no one else could be there.  You alone had to ride your bike for miles to met the bus that your little sister rode each and every day. You alone gave up the many after school activities that so many teenagers insisted they attend because they wanted to.  I counted on you to be there for her in our absence because we had to work to keep our family going, to pay the medical bills, and to keep medical coverage.  You alone did the grocery shopping and even saw fit to use every coupon available. You alone made the move with us from the west coast to the east giving up what was normal to so many your age, your first college year.  You alone helped me unpack the many, many boxes in our tiny new home in NJ.  You alone stepped in when your Dad had to work those many long hours to make up for my lost income. You became a man, perhaps too quickly, and I often wonder if this journey did not cause your harm along the way, cause you stress, cause you to wonder why, cause you to doubt the future and thus cause you to loose your footing along the way. I am proud of you that you have again found a steady pace to your own destiny on this earth and to you I say...thank you.

To my husband that for over twenty five years saw the determination to stand by me in sickness and in health, I am forever grateful.  Even in our cultural differences you found the solid ground to support me both emotionally and physically during those difficult and dark days. You alone worked the long, long hours necessary to keep your job(s) which ultimately kept our family afloat. You alone assured me that we could make it both financially and emotionally if I had to go on disability. And, we did. You alone became my guiding light in the vast ocean of uncertainty and helped to guide me to the other side.  You alone saw beauty in my ever changing ra body, soul, and mind. And, you alone will be there after all others have left to discover their own destiny. Thank you for being my husband.

To my dear friend Cathy who has been there way before my ra. Who has been there through thick and thin, through births and yes, through deaths, I owe you so much.  You have been there for me in ways that only girlfriends can be.  We, as females, seem to have this secret club that is built on a long standing understanding.  Could it be that we met in a previous life? Could it be that God realized we would need that special bond and told us in heaven, before our earthly decent, that we must stand together on this journey? You have done it all and you did it before my ra. The late, late night conversations discussing circumstances to be.  The 8 hour trip to help me pack up a home to move west when no one else could or would for that matter and all without my asking. The endless phone conversations over the years, whereby we solved the world's problems according to our standards.  Your friendship has meant and means so much to me.  We can be thousands of miles apart, not see or speak to each other for months and within an instant, things are once again in harmony.  Yes, there is no doubt in my mind that as we have said and as will be destined, we shall one day find ourselves rocking side by side on that veranda sipping our coffee.  Cheers, my dear friend, and thank you.

To the many cyber friends I have met along this ra journey...without you this journey would have been a lonely and dark one.  You have been there to listen to my ups and downs, my raves and my rants,  my wishes and my frustrations and most importantly you have shared your experiences. Through you and with you, I have gained the confidence to understand my disease(s), the courage to question the professionals that care for us and to gain the courage to push on.  And one of you even found the kindness to share your country with me in ways that only you could.  I will never forget your support, your wisdom, your knowledge, and most importantly your camaraderie.  Thank you.

My journey is my own but my life has been filled with love, kindness, friendship and hope.  To all of you that have made my journey possible and beautiful...thank you!