by Kellie Strausser
A week and a half ago, our family received shocking news. My Dad: My strong, capable, athletic, active dad, needed open-heart surgery. Not only did he need open-heart surgery but also, it was going to have to be a quintuple bypass. Each artery was severely blocked. The really sobering thing was that the surgeons were very surprised that he had not had a heart attack before they found out that this was the issue. You may think that I am going to go into great detail now regarding the operation itself, the procedures, the facts, and all that is involved in this process. I'm not. You can look that up for yourself on many online medical websites and endless information can be found.
What I am going to tell you is that he came through it with flying colors and he is now re-cooperating at home with lots of help and love from his family. We are ecstatic that he is here and we love him very much. I have faith he will be ok, even better than ok. He is stubborn, strong willed, intelligent and determined. I have no doubt he will feel like he is twenty again within months. If you asked me if I felt this way when we first found out, it would have been a different story.
The real open-heart surgery however, occurred within myself. I didn't realize how blocked I had become. My emotional arteries were clogged and it affected my thinking and feeling. I had become so absorbed with my life, that I wasn't paying attention to the lives of my friends and family around me. I know what I wrote last month. Take care of yourself and take time for yourself. I mean that whole-heartedly. You need to have that balance. Balance. It is a word full of imagery. If it's not present, the ship sinks, the seesaw drops, the mind spirals.
My open-heart surgery occurred the same time as my fathers. It opened me up and made me see how many people are hurting and in need, whether physically, mentally or spiritually. How each small thing you do can affect another person's life. A smile to a stranger can do wonders. Hold the door open, pick up what was dropped, or offer your place in line, these all take seconds out of your life. I want to affect lives. Imagine how much good you could possibly do in this world if you really thought about what your talents are and how you can use them. I'm an artist, a writer, and a cook. I listen, I encourage, and I empathize. What can I do with these talents that can affect one person, or multitudes of people? There are so many programs out there to get involved in, and ones that haven't been created yet. Why can't you create one? Ask yourself. Is my time so valuable to only me that the house and the car, or the dishes and the bills are more important than possibly saving someone's life?
I'm not preaching. I would never preach. This is basically a letter to myself. It's a letter that is telling me to do something now, before my life passes me by and it's too late to make a difference. I don't want it to be too late. For anyone.
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