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When You Feel Ready to Reconnect With Friends After Years of Illness

I feel like I’m “awakening” after over 10 years of illness. Not to say I’m totally well yet, but I am coming alive enough to start being an active part of the world. I have a tugging desire to reconnect with all those who have gone on with their lives, while I’ve been “asleep.” It’s like I want to pick up the phone and call people and laugh about something that happened 15 years ago, which to me is yesterday, because time stood still during these sick years. If I pick up the phone and make that call, my best of friends, my former colleagues, my doctoral cohort, will anyone even remember who I am?

At times I have an intense sadness over all that I’ve lost. At times I wish my own children had been able to grow up with the former me. But then I realize how blessed I’ve really been through these years, to be able to learn all that I have. I’ve been able to sit back and watch and marvel at things that rushed by me before, appreciate humankind and life around me from a raw new perspective. I’ve learned to fully appreciate life, to open up my heart and see love in anyone and everything, to connect with amazing people who are going to change the world – those I never would have otherwise met. I’ve become so much more aware. I am thankful to have transformed into the person I am today. I’m still healing, but I have a new heart and mind.

In a former life, before this illness, as a school principal when ushering so many students into school, I may have missed a sadness, a fear, a need for a personal connection. I may have tried to fit a dear, unique teacher into a box, missed a tear rolling down a cheek of someone turning the other way, made decisions that were influenced by outside forces instead of what I know what was right in my heart. I may not have forgiven the politics of being judged myself. I may have yelled instead of hugged.

We all need to be more kind, more compassionate, more understanding, more grateful, more appreciative, more attentive, more joyous. We need to take better care of ourselves and each other, and to make our decisions based on love, not fear. These are the things I’ve learned in my years of illness.

If I pick up the phone and call the people that I’ve kept so close to my heart, maybe they will remember me, but they won’t recognize me.

Getty Image by Antonio_Diaz