Perhaps it’s a coping mechanism to deal with the pain or fears that well up in me (Is this pain ever going to subside? Is this going to get worse? Am I going to have to go to the hospital?) Or perhaps it’s just a natural state of the mind from disconnecting from the world for a little while and being inside my own head for so long.
There is always a mix of relief to be back on my feet and feeling relatively OK again and the dread of stepping back into my routine and going on as if nothing happened. Perhaps it’s the realization that, no matter what happens to me, the world goes on – it makes me feel just a little bit insignificant. This is OK. There are plenty of other people that feel self-important and larger than life and central to the universe, I don’t need to be one of them.
I think this momentary feeling of insignificance merely reinforces my desire to matter to the world and people around me. Not necessarily to the world at large, but my personal world. The role I play at work, at home, in my social circle.
Perhaps due to my multiple surgeries, hospital stays and various health crises, or perhaps just due to my nature, I often wonder how people would react if I passed on; If I was no longer here. Would they care? Would they mourn? Would they replace me easily or always feel a loss for the role I played in their lives? Would those that now hate me celebrate and dance at the news of my death?
What will I think about on my death bed or in that last moment as I feel my life pass away? The things I regret? The things I am grateful for? The things I would change given the chance? Or will I simply take a deep breath and embrace my eternal sleep, happy to be done with the struggle and the pain and the heartbreak my life has brought me, content that, despite all that, I found love, friendship, laughter and joy?
In the end, I would like to think I mattered to people. I would like to think that, in the moments I offered a kind word, a helping hand, a shoulder to lean on or an ear to bend, I made the difference to someone when they needed it the most. Maybe not in a big life changing way, but in a small, quiet way that got them over a bump in the road or let them know someone cared.
I would like to think the things I have done at work have made it a better, easier place to be and work and that many people have benefited from my efforts, even if there was no recognition for it.
I would like to think that my husband lived a happier, better life for having me in it. That I gave him experiences he would not otherwise have and showed him the true face of unconditional love.
I would like to think my friends will smile at the memories of our times together, the laughter and fun we shared, the hugs we gave freely and the knowledge and support we shared with one another.
I would like to think my dog, in whatever his awareness is, lived a great life as my pet, knowing how much joy and love he brought our home and how much I wanted to take care of him and make him happy.
I would like to think even my enemies learned something about themselves or the world from their interactions with me. Perhaps they found other friends who shared their loathing for me and built amazing relationships from that, or perhaps they discovered who they are and what they have to offer someone through the problems we had. Or at least learned what kind of people they disliked and who to avoid in the future.
And I hope, perhaps arrogantly so, that the words I have posted on this blog, or spoken before crowds, or just said aloud in discussions with my friends in public or at work, or displayed on my walls and T-shirts and car, have reached the ears and eyes of someone who has felt alone in this world, thinking they were the only ones who felt or thought the way they did; maybe even changed the heart or mind of someone who, out of ignorance or fear, hates me and people like me or anyone who is different for any reason.
Because, in the end, if we have impacted even one life positively, if we have made a single moment better for a single person through a single act, if it is the only thing we have done, we mattered.
What more can you really ask for in life?