As the year heads towards the finish line, I can look back with grace, humility, and peace. I look back with gratitude for yet another chance to live this life. Three years ago, I head open heart surgery and had a near death experience. An experience that gave me a sense of peace realizing that if my life was over I could accept it, knowing that I was not alone.
Yes, at that time I was physically alone but I was in the minds and prayers of people close to that hospital as well as people from around the world… and that night I felt them all in my room. I also felt my Higher Power, cuddling me, comforting me, and making my pain more manageable.
I got through all of that and change my life. I left a comfortable job that I had for nearly twenty years and I moved away. Not across town or across the country. Oh no, I moved to a new continent. I grew up seeing the sun rise on the Atlantic Ocean, now I see the sunset on the ocean.
I left an America where the sea was at least an 18 hour drive away. I moved to England, a beautiful island where I am never more than 100 miles from the water.
I found a job where what you knew didn’t matter, if you could count and read a board and work really fast than you were a good employee. I left a job that was more like a family than co-workers, to a job where supervisors knew you by a number not a name. I hated every second of it but I still showed up and gave it my all for my new life.
Suddenly though things changed. I had a sore throat that just wouldn’t go away. After many home remedies failed and our local doctor couldn’t stop it, I saw an ENT specialist. I had numerous tests and found out I had cancer. It was year ago that I was in treatment. A treatment that was harder on me than I ever imagined.
Now a year later, I could have never imagined how far I have come. I got a new job. At times a very demanding job but I do enjoy it. I see a part of life that I was a part of for many years. I see the homeless. I see the addicted, as well as those who sell their bodies either for food or for drugs.
I see the look of death in their eyes and the feeling of hopelessness knowing there is little I can do. I do offer an ear to listen and to show them a little bit of respect, but besides that I am hopeless.
The decision to change is in their hands – not mine. Just as the decision to do chemo and radiation was my choice. I could have done other things or done nothing at all but I chose this path. There was a point during treatment that I wanted to quit and just surrender to it all. Then I realize how painful it would be for my wife and others that I knew.
I couldn’t do that. When I got sober my only goal was to never knowingly hurt another human being. By not doing treatment I would have hurt many people, who would have had to sit back and watch me die. I’m still going to die someday but these same people will be able to look back and see that I did everything in my power to live life to the fullest with this second chance that has been given to me…