Today is Memorial day and I have been thinking about how for most people, this means a day at the beach, or the lake or pool, and extra day to sleep in or spend time with family. All those things are great. But, it doesn't seem that too many of us really reflect on what this holiday means. Myself included. I'm guilty of not even knowing what holiday it is & might as well call it "3 day weekend". That's disgusting and I'm ashamed.
Having a child with cancer, living in the world of cancer, has changed my perspective on everything. I feel like up until the end of February I was walking through this world with my eyes closed. Oblivious to the real world around me. Ignorant to the things that really matter. It is unbelievable just how many people out there are fighting cancer or have loved ones fighting cancer. When I hear of this now, it's like something pierces my heart and I can't breathe. It stops me short. Cancer is not new. But, I swear it's everywhere and I just didn't notice before. How could I not have noticed?? Then I begin to think of just how fortunate we are to live in a country (that we Americans complain about constantly) that have hospitals that have CLEAN sheets and not only that but doctors who know what they're doing and can treat us. We have medicines available to us...cutting edge technology. I was brutally reminded of this luxury when a dear friend of mine who lives in another country described her trip to the hospital to get her 1year old daughter treated. She had to travel a couple hours to get there( no car seats by the way) , spent 8 hours at the hospital, sent to a exam room with a bloody sheet on the table, chased doctors around the building trying to get seen and in the end left with nothing. And here we are, mad if we have to wait too long to see a doctor or get our medications. Seriously? I daydream and wonder what the men and women who fought for our freedom, who sacrificed their lives so that we could live in this amazing place, what would they think if they were dropped down into 2009? Would they see an ungrateful people obsessed with Paris Hilton and Brangelina and be heartbroken and confused?
Life changing experiences are life changing. 3 months ago our lives were changed. It's hard but at the same time I can be thankful. Because we need to be changed. Our eyes need to be opened. I don't want to be the spoiled American. I don't want to be oblivious. I want to be thankful for this beautiful life and have compassion for those around me. I know I've only caught a glimpse of what I need to grasp but I challenge you to try and grasp it as well.
My complete gratitude and thanks for those who have fought for our freedom and those who continue to fight and the families who sacrifice in the process.