For some reason, the title of Arundhati Roy's brilliant book (while filled with tragedy) struck me as I wrote this for reasons mysterious even to me.
I was never a particularly joyous person. Both as a journalist where sad/infuriating stories dominated the landscape (with something happy normally thrown in as a filler) and in the world of health communications where I was consumed with the myriad of "issues" that the topic tends to inspire - often trumping the break-throughs, heroines and successful patients that triumphed over the odds - my "glass-half empty" world-view tended to become even more entrenched.
I have always been a worrier, armed with a powerful imagination that contorted the most simple endeavours into some sort of ordeal as a matter of course.
While all of that thinking still lives in me - I find myself in these past months and even at this late stage - opening myself up further and further to the wonder of it all - what it feels like in your heart to feel love and the connection of other people without mentally leaping to what people 'really think about me' or poisoning it with ulterior motives. The small exchanges and events fill me with something almost alien - a happiness that radiates appreciation for every gift big and small - a kind word, an unexpected note - a reminder of things past that aren't all clouded by the sadness of other parts of the story. Despite all the physical symptoms - and yes, indignities of my failing kidneys, I have had months to absorb the process and move to this place - to limit the fear that still lives in the bad days - but to understand for the most part, that these are fleeting, not by any measure the weight of this story.
I do imagine what it must be for those people who don't have the time - as I have been grateful enough to have since my diagnosis - to come to this place - to regain some of the wonder and joy I never really stopped long enough to experience or allowed myself to feel. Ripping off inch by inch the badge of fatalism that clouded all that is good. Understanding now that while my physical self is not healing - my heart is in a state of long overdue repair, clearing out the cobwebs of what has been and opening itself to the wonder of being loved - the joy of small moments - the growing acceptance of the opportunity these events have inspired - the people it has brought me back to - I simply could not for a second imagine ending my days without reverently holding these gifts in my hands and being thankful.