Chronic Illness, Gratitude, Health, Life, Midlife Woman, Relationships, Self-Care

Beginnings and Endings

December 1, 2011.

A day of beginnings and endings.

11 years ago today I underwent a 10-1/2 hour surgery that gave me my life back. I was reborn at the age of 52 with the promise of less pain, fewer hospitalizations, the ability to eat again, the ability to live again.

11 years ago today was a day of endings, as I came to the unequivocal realization when I looked into my husband’s eyes one last time before they wheeled me into the OR and the doors closed behind me, that he didn’t love me

Less than a year later, on Thanksgiving, that realization was confirmed when he announced to me that our marriage was over. That we were “done.” Done. Like a pie baking in the oven. Done. Cue the mistress who was waiting in the wings.

It’s possible for life to be shattered into a thousand pieces and still be pieced back together, whole but different. It’s possible to be swallowed up by excruciating pain – both physical and emotional – and still find sweet relief. It’s possible to be born and to die in the same moment, only to be born again.

Now 11 years later, I feel nothing but gratitude for both the beginnings and the endings. I’ve arrived where I’ve always longed to be, and in the loss I’ve been given the gift of self-love that grounds me at the same time it sets me free. I’ve arrived home, but it’s a home unlike any I’ve ever known.

And while these past 11 years have challenged me in so many ways – and will continue to do so – I’ve learned (well, for the most part) that I can face it all with head held high, with resilience, with grace, with humor, with humility, and surrounded by people who love me. And for that, I am forever grateful.

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