Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude

Everyone has defining moments that make you come to a realization of just how precious this life we are given is.

My first moment was tearing my ACL. I would say over and over again, “It could be worse”.  Other student athletes would always ask me why I was so positive, almost as if they thought I should go into a depression about not being able to play the sport I loved.  I could have easily sunken into a place that would’ve be hard to crawl out from, and there were days where I definitely did, but overall I smiled and carried on.  I would tell people I was fortunate to have only torn a ligament in my knee and gotten a relatively minor surgery instead of something else. Something worse. I took my new role as an injured player always to express my gratitude for my health, my teammates, my coaches, and the game.  I began to value life a little more.

My second life defining and forever life altering moment (2 months following my ACL tear) was watching my fiancé’s mother pass away from cancer.  Four months from her diagnoses to her passing.  The fastest and longest four months of my life.  The hardest four months of me and Joe’s relationship.  Everyday she was sick I thought to myself that I was one of the lucky ones.  I was fortunate to have a body that was working and a clean bill of heath.  The human body is more powerful than people ever give it credit.  That was the first time I realized just how mighty it was.  Having a mind of its own, following it’s own course, one that no one saw coming, one that no one understood.

Joe set one of her earrings into my engagement ring and now I will forever carry a piece of her with me. Constantly reminding me how short life is and to be grateful for every minute you get to spend with the ones that you love, because even when you add up every minute spent together, it will never be enough.

My third, and definitely not final, defining moment happened this weekend.  I am one of 12 cousins on my mom’s side of the family, we range in ages, but all have a great time when we are together.  Three of my cousins were together for a bachelor party and were involved in a serious car accident.  They were in an Uber and a drunk driver hit them.  Two of my cousins have walked away with moderate injuries.  My other cousin had his second surgery yesterday morning to repair internal damage. The surgery did go well, but the next few days are critical.

I have been walking around with a pit in my stomach since my mom told me.  This feeling of confusion, of why them?  Why do their loved ones have to go through this? When something unexpected and negative happens we always question why.  The answer to this question lies within what one makes of it.  Their attitude of the situation determines the answer.

I don’t fully know why I tore my ACL, or why Joe’s mom got sick, or why my three cousins got into a drunk driving accident.  But I do know that all three of these things have something in common, and that is giving me gratitude.

Take this Monday, and this week, to squeeze the people you love a little harder, to live life a little fuller and to consciously remember how lucky we are to have another day on this beautiful earth.

Stay positive, be grateful xxx

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