Time goes by faster than we’d like and teaches us that we are stronger than we ever imagined - and to me, that is the true gift of time passing.
But I still burst in to tears two minutes ago when I realized that tomorrow would mark a year since the whole 1 in a million thing came to be.
And as long as I’m being honest, I’m still crying as I type this.
Well, a year has gone by since the whole one in a million thing, and a year and a day has gone by since I wrote this letter to you all. And I’ve come to terms and accepted, and I have much to be thankful for.
I’m thankful that I still have some vision in my right eye and that it still looks as beautiful as my left eye.
I’m thankful that my ocular occlusion was not caused by diabetes, heart disease, or something brain related. Those are the gifts that allowed me to accept the reality of the 1 in a million occurrence.
I’m grateful that I’m healthy and tough and I’m thankful that I have friends that have loved me, made me laugh, donned eye patches and carried me through when I couldn’t carry myself.
Seriously and from the bottom of my imperfect pancreas, your friendship made all the difference.
I’m thankful that I’m strong and resilient and that I didn't let that moment 365 days ago be the point where my life went in a downwards spiral.
Instead, I chose that moment to be the starting point where my life would move forward and upward and on to better things - And I am so grateful that I chose that route.
But I still feel the loss, and at the oddest of moments.
Like this past summer when I was talking with a group of my girlfriends on the beach. The ocean was at its most beautiful and wild because two hurricanes were churning off the coast. The waves were huge and rough and the water temperature was 72 degrees and perfect and I felt so happy and alive and at the waters edge.
My sunglasses were on and I looked out over the ocean and my breath was taken away by it's beauty. And like I often do, I closed my good eye and looked out of my bad eye. I focused on the parts of my eye that weren’t blacked out. Those wonderful parts that allowed me to see bits straight ahead and a larger portion out of the corner - and at that very moment I saw the parts of the ocean I hadn’t fully seen or realized that I was missing.
My face turned red and my eyes filled up with tears and I had to walk away from my friends because I was afraid that I once I started crying I wouldn’t be able to stop.
I went back to my chair, threw off my pump, sunglasses and hat and then ran back towards the sea. I dove in and swam out as far as I could and looked at the ocean from every possible angle and continued to cry. The waves slammed at their fullest force and I dove over under them and rode them towards the shore. I body surfed for a good ½ hour and took in waves that lesser (and better) swimmers wouldn’t have been able to handle.
And I took those waves in with my eyes closed, and not because I was trying to be all “one & zen" with the water, it was because I had my beach contacts in and couldn’t take the chance of losing them in the ocean.
With eyes closed, I skimmed those giant waves, feeling and matching their every rhythm, cresting with and surfing them all the way into the waters edge. And then I’d run back in and start all over again. I did this until my body had no more to give the ocean, and it was wonderful.
And in those moments, things once again came full circle, and I knew I could do and be anything, regardless of the 1 in million ocular occlusion.
While I’m reminded of what happened every time I open my eyes, I am also reminded that I am blessed with wonderful things, including the gifts of tenacity, friendship, and love, and truly being “1 in a million.”