My sister took this picture on this day, 6 years ago (Mon Jan 7th 2013). It was supposed to be my first day at a brand new job in Toronto but instead, I lay unconscious after having 2 strokes requiring emergency brain surgery. It was not clear if I would wake up.
Fast forward 10 months. After living in the hospital and intense rehab for what felt like an eternity, I was now able to actually talk and walk and I was desperate to feel like a normal 29 year old woman. That meant, first and foremost, getting a job so I could actually move out of my parents house.
I was very impatient and one day after a set of not so promising interviews, I came home, plopped down on the couch where my sister and mom were and started venting. “WHEN am I going to get a job? This job search SUCKS! WHY can’t someone just hire me NOW!”
My sister hesitantly glanced towards my mom and they exchanged a “look” but I was too riled up to pay much attention. My sister picked up her phone and turned it to me so that I could see this image. I was shocked. A ball formed in my throat and my eyes started welling up with tears.
They both could see I was very confused but too shocked to speak. What was this picture? Who was it? When did this happen? And why was this picture taken! Yas quietly said:
D, this is you after brain surgery. When the doctors came out to update us, they said you were a fighter during the entire 6 hour procedure and your heart was so strong. I knew in that moment, you were going to wake up and come back to us, no matter what. I just knew.
So I took this picture because I wanted you to see how far you’ve come. Whenever you are annoyed, frustrated, feeling hopeless, you will be able to step back and put these things into perspective.
It has been 6 years and I still glance away and shutter when I see this picture because I cannot fully grasp that the woman in that picture is me. But my sister was right – it instantly makes those daily grievances and annoyances fade and instead a wave of gratitude and strength washes over me.