Several years ago, my Mom was in a severe car accident. She was in the hospital, mostly in intensive care, for two months, followed by two more months in rehab, and some follow-up surgery a year later. As a result, she still has some trouble with her right hip and leg, and uses a cane.
This summer I went with my parents to visit a cemetery where one of our ancestors (who died around 1712) is buried. I use the term “cemetery” loosely – it is actually a burial ground on what was the family land, now privately owned and undeveloped. My parents have been working on our family genealogy for years, but they hadn’t yet visited this site.
It involved a trek into the woods with two women from the local historical society who knew where the gravestones were. The entire walk to the cemetery was about half a mile, which to me seemed like a short stroll. But because of the uneven terrain, Mom had to pause frequently to rest and I could tell it was a strain for her.
After we had checked out the stones and taken lots of pictures, and after Mom took a rest on a stump, we started to head back. We realized that we’d been walking down a long gradual slope, so the journey back to the cars was uphill. Mom had an even bigger struggle getting back and was relieved when she could sit down. She took a pain pill and admitted she hadn’t been sure at times if she could make it back! Yet before the medicine could even kick in, she was saying how excited she was to have seen the grave site, and how glad she was that she had come!
It was an “aha!” moment for me. I realized how much I take my mobility for granted and I made sure to express my gratitude for it. You see, I’m blessed to be very healthy the vast majority of the time. I don’t take any medications, I eat healthy foods prepared from scratch, and I get plenty of exercise. I’ve avoided injuries and don’t have any chronic conditions. And I’m thankful.
Even more so when things don’t go as planned. Just recently I’ve been facing some health issues (let’s just say female plumbing problems and leave it at that). I had to take antibiotics, which for various reasons I don’t like to do, and I’ve felt really…well, ill. This situation has brought me a greater-than-usual dose of compassion for those who struggle with health issues and even more gratitude that I’m usually feeling quite well. As my condition has gradually improved, I’ve resolved to not only stay healthy, but to stay grateful as well.