THE PURPLE HEART
AN OPEN HEART JOURNAL
June 5, 2009
THE PURPLE HEART
My sister has always been the one in the family to find that "perfect" gift for her siblings. I think I can safely say that each of us has received some of our most valued gifts from her and wondered where in the world she found them. Over the years she's given me my favorite clothes (starting with my very first pair of blue jeans back in 1970), my first haircut when I was 11 and 90 percent of my earring collection. But this year I think she topped them all. She gave me a Purple Heart. Now it would have been enough that the pin is 1) my favorite color being purple and 2) my favorite shape being a heart. But this pin was attached to a card with a special poem written by the same talented woman who made the beautiful pin.
Here is what it says:
DID YOU KNOW?
Some women deserve a purple heart -
Those who struggle through adversity
One foot in front of the other
Who smile when one would expect tears
Those who find the cup half full and are thankful
Those whom you can count on...
Can turn to...
Who make our lives richer!
Women who are survivors -
Remarkable and warm
Who make the world a better place
Just because they're here
Did you know YOU are one of those women?
-Norma Marshall ©2000
Yep, I cried - right there in that nice fancy restaurant. But how many of you are doing the same thing right now? Our friend at the table has offered that once I'm tired of wearing it and showing it off she'll frame it for me. Only if she can pry it out of my hands, that is!
It's not that I want to show it off because I think I deserve it but that I want to hold on to it because my SISTER thinks I deserve it. And yes, I'm crying again right now just thinking about it.
But I have to say that I know a lot of people who also deserve a purple heart this year:
° My roommate who works 12+ hour days, five days a week as a cardiac nurse then comes home to another heart patient and gives whatever energy she has left to lovingly make sure I have my meds, food to eat and anything else I might need, listens to my honest, tearful fears and complaints and then lovingly and patiently turns my eyes to the Creator of the Universe and Ruler of our lives so I remember Who really is in control when I am terrified that no one is.
* My son who has sat by my hospital bed countless days, rushed to the ER, endured hours of waiting room hours through no less than 5 heart procedures and open heart surgery even while losing his own father from an embolism right in the midst of my own health crisis.
* My beautiful Daughter-in-Love who declared to my son "You take care of your father's estate and I will take care of your mother's affairs" and lovingly walked me through mountains of medical bills, Social Security forms and treated me as lovingly as her own mother both in and out of the hospital (Not to mention has spoiled me rotten for my birthday)
* My brother Jim who kept me laughing with his wonderful sense of humor and talent for describing hospital life to a tee.
* My big brother who had his own heart issues just the year before and inspired me with his 100 mile bike ride on the anniversary of his heart attack.
* My sister who made the drive from Little Rock several times to visit me in the hospital, endures my beating her in word card games and challenges me to Word Twist just to keep me mind from vegetating.
* My friends who have become even closer friends through these months and visited me with fluffy slippers, sugar-free chocolates, healing music CDs, a collection of stuffed animals and most of all their prayers - both when I knew they were praying and more importantly when I never knew but definitely felt them in my "heart."
* My many fellow employees at work who fought for me when the company denied disability benefits, collected monies to cover the cost of my health insurance, brought me meals, took me to doctor appointments, visited me in the hospital and made me laugh so hard my blood pressure soared and the nurses had to kick them out of my room.
* My many friends who stuffed birthday cards with generous checks that will greatly help with ongoing medical and personal expenses and sometimes specifying that some portion be spent on me as well.
* My dear friend in the corporate benefits office who cried every time she had to deliver bad news about my denied benefits and even made sure my monthly COBRA payments were paid when I had no resources to do so for myself.
* My many Facebook, email and chatroom friends who have written, read, commented, loved, prayed and supported me through this long, never-ending journey. You have kept me from feeling alone when there was no one in my hospital room, you've tolerated my competitiveness in online word games and you've made me laugh when I really felt like crying. And every time I thought about giving up I could look on my Facebook page or my email address book and see that I had 100+ friends cheering me on and know my world wasn't as small as it seemed in that closed-in hospital room - even at 3 in the morning.
So, purple heart to all of you - and my HEART-felt thanks.
I love you all and thank God for each one of you. I celebrate our friendship and commit to praying for you just as you all have prayed for me. I have a screen saver made up of pictures I've titled "Things that make me smile" and in that folder of pictures are pictures of you guys that I've take from your FaceBook pages. When my screen saver goes on it stacks each picture like being tossed from a scrapbook and I do truly smile. You are each in my "things that make me smile" folder.
Thank you - I can only pray that someday I can return the love your way.
From My Heart,