We are pushed through life to think about what matters, about how much money we have, how much stuff. We ask kids what job they want to do from being so young and as adults, its the question you ask of a stranger when you meet. We live in a very materialistic world where our worth is based on how much we have.
But today as I lay in bed feeling ill and sorry for myself, I was thinking about what actually matters. It is, of course, people. Our relationships with others. Our family and friends. We all know this but sometimes it feels like we forget it in our busy lives.
Today, my hair is matted and greasy. I’ve had a tough few days with what I think is a partial blockage of my stoma. This is on top of the daily pain I have had every day since my surgery in February. And I was thinking back to my recovery from that last operation.
At my lowest when I had nothing left, no energy, pain, failing kidneys, the thing I had that mattered the most was an incredible team of friends and family around me. It didn’t matter what clothes I wore, what car I drove or how much money was in my bank. What mattered was the kindness and love of my tribe.
My friend Hannah heard from Timm that I had been upset about my hair. After three weeks in HDU and on the wards unable to wash it, it was greasy and knotted. I’d had it tied on top of my head and it was matted and dirty. She came in to visit me and brought supplies! Shampoo, detangler, the works. And she helped me into the bath in hospital, and washed and brushed my hair. She wasn’t embarrassed or put off by my bruised, swollen and bleeding body. She didn’t judge me or look away.
She helped me undress, get in the bath and was so gentle and loving. I cried as she took my bobble out and my hair was so matted it barely moved. But it was OK, she said it was going to be fine.
In that moment, and now looking back on it, I knew how lucky I was to have her and other friends who were there for me.
There was so much love and support. Friends who just came and sat by my bed, those who did laundry, who cooked for my kids and took them out for days to take their minds of things. My aunty who trawled shops to bring me several types of yoghurt because after 3 weeks of not eating, it was the first thing I fancied! My husband and friends who found stocks of long ice pops in February so I could suck on something to soothe my mouth when I couldn’t eat. More people than I can name here came to me in my time of need and were just ‘there’.
My friend Tania who came and massaged my hands and arms because she instinctively knew I just needed some human touch.
My friend Caroline who listened to me weep and tell her I couldn’t get through this. Who just cried along with me, told me it was all shitty but we’d get through it.
My friend Sarah who stuck sweety red laces up her nose so she looked like she had an NG tube too and made me laugh. Then went home and looked after my family.
My kids who were terrified. I will never be able to make it up to them. They visited and were scared. Scared to touch me, scared of the tubes and wires. They were and are troopers who have seen more hospital wards than any child should.
My husband. Who I dont even have the words for. He is everything. He never gives up on me, never loses his patience, and is always there. 12 hours a day he sat by my bed. He’s seen it all and been through more than I have as I don’t remember half of it.
I suppose my point today is, that I am incredibly grateful to my squad, but also that people matter.
Be the kindness you want to see in the world. Cherish the ones closest to you. Nurture your relationships and love hard. Say ‘I love you’ to the people you love. Pick up the phone and call your friends. Give love out into the world and it does come back to you.
Life is tough this year, we are all suddenly faced with illness and death in our day to day lives. But as we head into Christmas and all the pressures of spending and buying expensive things, remember that the most important thing, the thing that matters the most are the people you love.
Peace and love