This year I have found myself in circumstances, I wouldn’t wish on anybody. Yet, it’s those situations that have taught me a great deal, given me pause and caused me to stop and think.

Earlier in the year I was hospitalised after contracting Covid. There are a couple of ways to look at the same matter, like looking at two sides of the same coin. It can either be said that I was one of the unlucky ones, unfortunate to get severely sick with Covid, or then it can be said I was one of the lucky ones, fortunate not to die from it.

Covid wreaked havoc with both my heart as well as my lungs.

After spending an evening in our hospital’s resuscitation ward, I was transferred to their high dependency cardiology unit. It was here where I met three other women, close to my own age. They stirred me, triggered strong never-before experienced emotions, moved me, and caused me to ponder life in new light.

In hindsight, I would say the hospital cardiology ward was an adjournment room of my life. My life was suspended in time, normal life interrupted, almost like an intermission or an interlude in the middle of a ballgame.

There is something very powerful in a shared experience. All four of us were knocking at death’s door, but each of us was given a chance to go on living. As the four of us shared with each other, we bonded. Under different circumstances, it could have taken us years to even get to know each other, yet after a couple of days we shared the kind of togetherness and closeness, which I have rarely experienced.

When I was discharged, one of the ladies said to me, with tears in her eyes: “Jaana, God has given us a second chance in life. Go home, love your family, enjoy your grandbabies, and bake to your heart’s content. Life is short!”

Many people have said a whole lot of things to me during my lifetime, many of which I have forgotten. Yet there is something about the life’s circumstances I was in, which made me, not only remember, but to take heed of her every word.

Life had thrown a curveball. It had stopped all four of us in our tracks. After our interlude, we all got to go home to continue where we left of. We were still able to hug our grandchildren, bake bread and make cakes. We were given a second chance to continue life. My new-found friend wisely reminded me not to waste the opportunity.

Often it takes a life changing event to give us pause and realise just how precious our moments are. Even on our most challenging days, we can find things for which to be grateful. We just sometimes need help in being reminded!       

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