Reflection of Christmas 2022. Just writing those words, ‘reflection,’ is an achievement. I wasn’t supposed to be here. So, reflecting seems incredible. I should be giddy. I should be awesome. I should be overcome with joy. Me? No. I don’t support the notion that there’s this vast ongoing battle between Good and Evil. There’s just life. And even though being alive at this moment kind of strikes me as funny, there’s not a day when I don’t understand that Christmas 2022 could be my last.

I spent the last two days sitting. “Just too dizzy and wrought with intestinal discomfort,” I murmur. And as Winter Storm Elliott nears the Midwest, forecasters predict a bomb cyclone to layer over the Midwest later this week; my body feels all of the 62 years of abuse given. I should have listened to medical professionals more, but I failed to heed their advice.

A year before her death, Julie Yip-Williams noted, “I want … the world to know that I had died as I had lived, with the courage to assume the most worthwhile risks.” When I look at my life, at times, I took the least courageous way. Maybe I should have fought my medical woes with more courage. Perhaps I should have listened to better or gotten better mentors. I chose not to. Thus, I own the woe (meaning I owe my woe). In the days since, I internally asked, “Who has more courage: the terminal patient who presses on with grueling treatments or the one who walks away, choosing to feel good for as long as she can and then seek palliative care? For the most part, I decided on the latter. With that, now I lay in between the stage of health and shite. Now, I have to live with that.

In all fairness, letting the disease run its course takes tremendous courage. But in doing so, I technically invite death to get its act together and arrive. In a training speech to automotive executives, the late Larry Wilson of Wilson Learning stated that those who fear death the most are the very ones who feel they haven’t lived. To that statement, I tip my glass of tea.

My story is unusual. Having traveled to 35 different countries and every U.S. state and lived in many other places, my life has been exotic. I have experienced tremendous beauty. I still believe life is a circle; one can never get joy if one dares not cry. I am not so obsessed with what I do not have that I cannot see the value of what has been given.

The blessings received are often hidden in plain packages. They come wrapped in an evening meal with a loved one, children playing hide-and-seek, and excellent films by great actors or a conversation with a friend. Earthen vessels lay claim to treasures. I genuinely care a great deal about others and the future of humankind. I believe God wants people to exemplify the goodness that all are capable of, to help find solutions to almost seemingly insurmountable problems. And outside of this blog, I do not anticipate leaving a legacy by which the world will remember me. I have nothing profound to say. Yet I hope people can find some modicum of inspiration.

It’s been over three years since receiving my tumor and two years since receiving the Parkinson’s diagnosis. This time of year, there are all these associations with being with family, which leaves me wondering how many more holidays I will get and will any of them be filled with joy, light, and optimism. Currently, these are sentiments I cannot genuinely embrace. Hopefully, you will embrace what I haven’t.

My Holiday Wish for all of you is that those fighting diseases and those standing beside them are that you find some healing. And some level of peace, even if lasts only an hour. I hope that Christmas, opening presents, or some silly family tradition takes you miles from your pain. Just an hour or two of normalcy is a great Christmas gift. I wish for that as well—just an hour. God wants you to embrace your life with courage, strength, and grace. He wants you to know that He’s there. So do I. Amen.