Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Celebrate Life Day

It was around two years ago. I was celebrating my birthday with my two friends and my sister. We went to this fun restaurant for dinner and dessert. I hadn't wanted to do anything for my birthday, but my sister encouraged me to at least do something small. I was turning 42, so it wasn't like it was some momentous birthday, but that really wasn't why I didn't want to celebrate my birthday. It was August 2008, and 2008 had been a very bad year so far. Things were unraveling all around me. It seemed almost anything that could go wrong was. Money was well beyond tight. My sister was sick and was looking at very major surgery in the coming months. My marriage was at an extremely low point. And of course, losing Christopher just a few months before who was due in August. I couldn't think of any reason to celebrate my life.

Early on, when we were at dinner, the conversation turned to all the on-line auctions, donations, fundraising for NieNie's Recovery. I just listened for a few minutes, and then I said "I've never heard of this woman. Who is she?" And they explained that this woman, Stephanie Nielson, had had a blog for a few years now, before the blog craze really took off, and that she often posted about her life with her husband and her children and how she loved her husband and her children so much and how happy she was with her life. And then on August 16, 2008, she was involved in a plane crash with her husband and the pilot. The pilot died, and her husband was burned over 30% of his body, but Stephanie's body was burned over 80% of her body. The blog world, and people beyond, were drawn, compelled to do anything they could to help Stephanie and her husband Christian.

When I got home, I went to Stephanie's website and spent hours reading. I almost couldn't believe that there was someone that happy out there. And somebody who was so content with her life. And somebody that was so willing to let the unimportant things go by so that she could have a moment with one of her children. Somebody who still talked about their husband like a teenage girl with a crush. Or somebody that could always see that even if today was a bad day, tomorrow would be better.

When we were at dinner, we had talked about Stephanie's blog, of course, and we also talked about blogs in general. My sister had been using LiveJournal for awhile, but was thinking about making the switch to a more public blog. My two friends didn't have public blogs yet, but they were thinking about it. They asked me if I had a blog. Well, I did. I had started a blog back in 2006, but it was private, and I couldn't figure out how to get back on it after my first post, so I kind of forgot about it until I found out I was pregnant with Christopher. So I figured out how to get back on my blog, but kept it private, so that I could have some place to talk about my pregnancy with him. And then after we lost him, it became a place where I could talk about my grief and that I could share about him with other people. But I hadn't really considered having just a "regular" blog.

But the more I thought about it, I thought I would try it. I'd recently started trying to live a more simple life and I often had all kinds of thoughts about it rattling around in my head and it might be nice to have someplace to write them down. Maybe I'd talk about my family too. So at the end of August, I came up with a title and did my first couple posts. And I've been blogging for almost two years now. (And on my homeschooling blog too! I don't post much over the summer, but if you've never checked it out, take a look sometime!)

It has helped me to have a place to put all these simple thoughts, and it has increased my interest in all kinds of simply self-sufficient things to the point that now I'm starting to a book. It helped me to have a place to talk about my kids, my life, albeit a very whitewashed version for awhile, but as time has gone on, I've shared more and more about my life and just my journey. And by having some place to share all of this has helped me get to a much better place than I was in 2008. Writing here didn't solve all my problems. Having great friends around me, talking, spending time with my family, and just keeping getting up every morning helped me get to a better place too. And of course, not all of my problems are solved either. But I am at a place where I am grateful. Not grateful for all the bad things that happened in 2008, or for any of the other trials that I've had happen. But I am grateful that I do have my family. That I do have my friends. And I'm grateful that I am alive. That there is a future out there. And opportunities.

And NieNie? I still read her often. And am still amazed by her. I managed to feel pretty sorry for myself back in 2008. And yes, I had trials, and not just minor ones. And my life had never really been a "charmed" life either. But I hadn't spent much time, ever, feeling blessed for the every day like Stephanie had before her accident. And now, two years later, she still feels blessed for the every day. And it didn't take her two years of feeling sorry for herself to get back to that place either.

She said recently on her blog:
"I have 2 years behind me and I hope they see that life is- and can be still so so good.I am so happy to be alive.Life is a treat, a marvelous gift.I will forever dedicate this day- August 16 as a day to celebrate life. I hope you will too."

And I will. Every August 16th, from now on, I will have a Celebrate Life Day. And in addition to that day, every day, I will do a little thing - an extra kiss, a little note, a smile - to celebrate Life.


AFarCryFromNormal said...

Yup, I remember that day like it was yesterday. I LOVE Nie Nie! I really do! I read her blog before the accident. At first I was so intimidated at her perfection...or so it seemed to me. It was just really my insecurities about my own life and what I thought I should be doing and feeling etc. She embraced her marriage, her family, her role as a mother etc. I love all those things to but she took it to another level. Then instead of feeling bad, I followed her example and it helped alot. Then she got in the crash and I was facing some scary trials of my own and some still to come. It was her and many other things that kept me afloat through my trials. I know that all of our trials are hard to us and we shouldn't downplay how they make us feel. I did though think of Nie Nie when I would get really down and know that I had it rough but she had it rougher and was still managing to stay positive or at least say she was hurting and move forward. She is amazing. She DOES celebrate life and I love that. Although the job helps tremendously, I too am really just trying to embrace and celebrate life more too. We only have one chance and we need to enjoy the ride! I am so sorry that you had to go through the things you did! Breaks my heart! I am glad that you have found peace and are finding ways to celebrate life too! CHEERS!! Luv ya Sis!

corn fed girl said...

Aww, I remember that day. We went to that cool, ubber chic resturant downtown. Is it weird to say I had fun? "Sorry you life sucks but this food is so good."
We need to celebrate life more often, by hitting the town! You rock & I love you much.