Julia Fox Garrison
Fifteen years ago today, I narrowly escaped the Grim Reaper’s scythe. Every year since, I have marked this day as a ‘Homage to my Hemorrhage,’ celebrating the gift of more time here on earth. Originally, I thought of this year’s anniversary as a milestone, but in reflection, I realize that every day is a milestone, an extra opportunity to make a positive difference.
Although my life’s path as I had envisioned veered way of course, I am immensely grateful for the incredible opportunities my stroke has given me. I never felt like a victim of stroke, but rather a survivor of life’s happenstance. While some may cringe that I refer to my stroke as a gift, it has shaped my life in ways that are surprisingly full of wonderful possibilities and brought many remarkable people into my life, people who leave me in awe and inspired by the power of the human spirit.
No one completely escapes adversity, be it physical, emotional, or financial. Mine happened to be a paralyzing stroke, but it has given me insight to what is important. My stroke has taught me lessons that keep me grounded, fulfilled, and ready to greet each day with renewed hope. Thanks to my stroke, I’ve learned:
- ● Life is about choice. Each choice is predicated on my prior choice.
- ● Laughter truly is the best medicine for the mind, body and spirit. I require daily doses. It starts by laughing at myself, and when my dear friends join in, it creates a cacophony of joy.
- ● No one is responsible for my happiness but me. I must choose to be happy. But just because I choose it doesn’t make it so; it takes hard work.
- ● I must overcome obstacles to accomplish a goal. Obstacles, or roadblocks, cause detours, but I am not discouraged. Detours often lead to new discoveries about myself and what I am capable of.
- ● The proverbial ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ is there only if I find it within myself to foresee a positive outcome.
I am not my stroke. Does it define me? In some ways, perhaps, but it is only one side of the multifaceted person I am. I am the victor of my stroke; I conquered the beast. Yes, it raises its ugly head daily, but I am battle ready. This enemy did not defeat me, it only made me stronger, wiser, grateful, happier, yes, happier. I know up-close-and-personal that every day I get out of bed is a gift.
Reposted from the blog of Survivor, Speaker and Best-selling Author, Julia Fox Garrison, author of Don’t Leave Me this Way: or When I Get Back on My Feet You’ll be Sorry