It’s my first day of vacation, a Mother’s day gift from my children. The perfect place for inspiration. The waves are calm the sea is blue, as I sit on the white sand of an Alabama Beach. There is a gentle breeze blowing. I am relaxed as my mind absorbs the nature around me. Then I hear a distant thunder as the dark clouds are gathering several miles away causing the waves to change quickly, reacting to the coming windstorm. The sea has changed seriously as the waves rock and roll. The rain begins to pelt my skin causing a burning sensation. Within a few minutes the wind had become so powerful that it is taking all my strength to force my body backwards to keep from being washed out to sea. It occurs to me that I can't see past the ocean. It’s definitely a postcard view, it is as if I feel I must turn and look back as the sea is a symbol of eternity and I have to make a conscious effort to save myself; to save my soul.
The wind whips and wraps my towel around me, I'm trying to close my eyes as the sand blows in my face blinding me. With the wind at my back, the hotel is a refuge where everything inside is conditioned for comfort and safety. I decide to relax with a Dr. Pepper and a box of chocolates my daughter has thoughtfully sent. The description on the box says: dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt. I wonder if she knew I would skip lunch and indulge, savor the candy instead. I open a book reading until the storm has passed. The tide now dancing against the sand as the ebb flows away as mysteriously as it came. Relaxed and full, finally I lie down to sleep.
Upon awakening, I walk to the patio facing the sea, and it is so clear to me. A quiet voice appeases me as I understand the ocean scene represents my journey. A story of life changing events, many of which I had no control. As the ocean moves with the simplicity of nature, so have I flowed with the path-breaking phases as the sun, the moon, and earth are in their eternal cycle.
Looking up at the sky still masked with different colors of clouds, I ask God for guidance to write about my life changing event. Hopefully, one that other women can relate to, I focus on nothing but the ever changing nature around me. And slowly, free my mind and bring back what happened in a matter of moments that changed my lifestyle forever.
I remembered it just like it was yesterday. It all started with me being exhausted for several weeks. This wasn’t a a normal tired but an exhaustion so overwhelming that the only desire was to rest. It started as usual with me taking a nap when the daycare children slept for two hours. Of course, I had a teacher there to watch over them. But within a short time, after a trip to the E.R my lifestyle would change just as quickly as the the ocean waves had been disturbed by the dark sky.
It was 1993 and I was 41 years old. I'd been unable to function for weeks. After lying down for a nap, I went into such a deep sleep my daughter could not wake me. I could hear her calling my name and shaking me, but it would be several minutes before I could move. I began to cry because I knew I was sick. In fact I could barely walk and had to be helped to the car by two people. After being examined by the doctor and being told I had contacted Epstein-Barr Virus, also know as Mononeuclosis, and that I had a very high titer in my blood test. The normal level is 100 and mine was 900. He advised me to quit work and go home and go to bed as there is no medicine or cure. He also said that it would remain in my body and lie latent until I experienced any type of infection and then it would reactivate.
This could not be happening! I had always been the picture of health. My daycare had survived the first hard years, it was as if a rug was pulled from under me and I hit the floor with such force that I could barely breathe. He explained that the inside of my body was fighting an autoimmune disease that can become the catalyst for several other serious ailments such as Lupus, MS, RA, S”chrogens, and several hundred types of cancer. I had no choice but to close my business as I was told if I continued to push my body, I could damage my heart and liver. The natural rhythms of my body was just as the ocean with the underlying currents not observed by the naked eye. As I struggled with emotional and physical pain accompanied by depression. I fought my way out of the darkness and felt the sun upon my face as I took the good days and began a new path. I'd always been a writer. I'd kept journals for years and wrote poetry and short stories but had never thought about being published. During the meantime, I learned to knit, crochet, and started taking piano lessons. I knew I'd never learn to play for anyone, but the experience of practicing helped me.
The cliche' of hearing when one door closes, another will open is what happened to me because as my illness began to stabilize, I would have good and bad days. The more I thought about writing, the more I saw raw material all around me. I had a story in my mind, so I sat down and wrote a humorous article, "MaMa Loved Elvis". I sent it to the local newspaper and to my surprise, it was published. This gave me the confidence and inspiration to send several articles to other publications and in 1998, five years after I was diagnosed with EBV, I was writing a weekly column titled, "Keep Smilin' With Rosie". I could not write my ideas fast enough. My inspiration came from the readers as they began to let me know how much they enjoyed stories from my heart. Many were sharing my stories with other family members and friends. There was a connection that lifted me so high. I met people everywhere I went who recognized me by my photo in the paper.
Looking back, there is gratitude for my past experiences, both good and bad, for they are what made me who I am today. I am strong, I know the mornings will always bring a new day.The sun will shine or the clouds will bring the rain. My vacation is ending as I walk along the beach and allow the waves to splash my feet, knowing that I am not alone I have faith, hope, and love and the greatest of these is love.
I am as a tiny grain of sand; carbon, the basis of all living things the essence of such diamonds are formed, a reminder that even though my heart was dull for years. Miraculously the rock is cut and polished and will never again lose it's inner shine. It is filled with inner beauty and glory and nothing can crush it's inner clarity. Just as nature moves forward I will be content as I escape to my resting place with the moon, I have let go of past fears, I have found a vast ocean of peace and consciousness that surrounds my body as a shield of protection and love. I will hold on, just as the air surrounds the earth, I am surrounded by the light of the sun which brings life from God. I will hold on with my enlightened spirit each day as a present never to be taken for granted again.