Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sharing My Heart & Hope With the World via CNN

A few months ago, I wrote a draft blog post about my beloved Mr. Knightley as he was an incredible gift of a companion. He had died suddenly on June 8th in a horrific way, and I there is no way I can post it as it is too emotional for me to edit what I have written. Knightley may have been a dog, but he was born out of the womb of my heart--my boy--connected to me in a very close way. We shared a special bond and I spent more time with him than I have ever spent with George as I was with Knightley almost 24/7.

Mr. Knightley knew what "I love you" meant. Every time I said it, he thought it was meant for him. If I was on the phone and Knightley was laying down next to me and I said "I love you" to the person on the phone, he would painstakingly with bad arthritis/hip dysplasia get up, look at me and love on me.

When I got chronically ill, my Mr. Knightley never left my side. My husband, George, would leave for work and tell him he was "Captain Knightley" in charge of taking care of me. And it is as though he knew he had been left in charge. I have had my fair share of passing out/drop attacks whether medication or Meniere's related. Every time I would come-to, Knightley would be sitting over me. If I had a panic attack, he would do the same thing. I can still feel his fluffy white chest hair on my face as though he was a soldier watching over the wounded until help came. He really helped to calm me.

This week is Invisible Illness Awareness Week and Lisa Copen, (founder of Invisible Illness Awareness Week and Rest Ministries, a chronic illness ministry) wrote a fantastic article, for CNN Health online that was posted today, "Talking to someone with chronic illness." Accompanying her article is a photo slide show entitled "The chronically ill: Hope looks like." I submitted a photo to Lisa to be considered for the slide show. I submitted a photo of  Mr. Knightley because how he cared for me as he always brought me hope and joy.

Here is a screen shot of the photo as it appears on CNN:




On the actual article, you can hide the caption so you can see the whole photo. Click here to see it; this photo is slide number ten.

The article by Lisa Copen is well written and has great ideas for what not to say and what to say to someone with chronic/invisible illness. In general, people with chronic illness are (or should be) understanding that not everyone knows what to say even though we do get weary of certain comments/responses. I would not have known what to say to someone like myself if I did not have chronic illnesses. But it is helpful for people who love someone with a chronic illness how to best support them/reach out to them.

So, as I still grieve my loss of my Mister Knightley deeply, I find so much joy that the gift he was to me is being shared with the world online during Invisible Illness Awareness Week  (September 10-16)!

Check out all the great stuff going on this week, including a free virtual conference, blogging events, posting photographs that show visible hope and more!

I still miss him like crazy, but Mr. Knightley, brought me companionship, care, love, support, hope and most of all joy that helped me get through each day and it was a gift he gave me that will keep me putting one foot in front of the other. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thank You Thursday

I have been absent from the internet world, including blogging or keeping up on other bloggers, so I'm not sure if it is a weekly thing or just today, but I read a blog by Migrainista called "Thank You Thursday." I thought her idea was so wonderful that despite the type of day I have had, I would join in.


Dear Walter Elias Disney,

Hey, thanks for being the unique innovator you were. You sounded like a hard butt to work with and be around, but your talent, your innovation, your risk taking and your imagineering has created happiness that my husband and I constantly enjoy. From your first animated short, "Steamboat Willie" to your first feature length cartoon, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," and then to your first unique theme park, Disneyland, you initiated a world of imagination that has woven itself through my life and continued to bring me joy as an adult. And by the way, I'm glad your wife, Lillian suggested you'd name your signature mouse "Mickey" instead of "Mortimer." Wives know best. :)

Dear JANSPORT,

You make some really rocking backpacks! I have used the same one for the last fifteen years and it is still holding up extremely well with the exception of some raggedy strings. The penny-saver in me felt that fifteen years was a good time to buy a new back pack. Yesterday, I bought a new one and I will sadly retire my older navy bag that had carried everything from high school books to honeymoon travel items, to hospital stay items. However I will keep this tired-looking bag in my closet rather than donating/throwing it out because hoarding worn-out things runs in my family. But back to the point, Jansport, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this new black backpack is as good a quality as the one my parents bought me fifteen years ago and has even more fun compartments!  Just wanted to say thanks for keeping your quality up over the years.

Dear Zoe,

I wish I could translate this into a way that as a dog you could understand, but I am sure you do in your own way.  Thank you for coming straight to me when I am having a panic attack without me calling for you. Thanks for digging your head under mine to lift it off the floor and keeping it there. Thank you for pressing your body so close to mine that I know you intend it to be calming and comforting. I know that my anxiety sometimes scares you, but you fearlessly and faithfully nestle into me. You must know you are integral part in bringing me out of the attacks. Thanks for being the gift you are.