The Importance of Expressing and Experiencing Gratitude
An ER visit prompts this columnist to dig deep into her feelings of thankfulness
During November, many people participate in daily gratitude challenges on social media. Finding something to give thanks for is easier on some days than others. Some seasons are filled with grateful moments, while others are filled with grief, sorrow, and exhaustion.
My youngest son, Caeleb, is 16 years old and lives with severe hemophilia A with an inhibitor. He recently went to the emergency room for pain related to his bleeding disorder, and walking into that all-too-familiar place was overwhelming.
To say the ER was busy is an understatement. Patients filled every room, and at least eight gurneys holding sick children were lined up outside the nurses’ station. It was organized chaos.
I immediately went into crisis mode and became laser-focused on my son’s pain. As I looked out into the ER through the glass door of our room, I felt thankful that my son wasn’t exposed to the sick children in the open area.
Being back in that place caused me moments of internal panic. My mind raced as I recalled all the nights we brought Caeleb to the hospital when he was younger. We often waited for hours before a bed became available. Now, years later, the smell of disinfectants, the flurry of activity, and the sounds of screaming babies, chiming monitors, and crying toddlers conjured up those painful memories.
Yet being back in the hospital also offered me a new perspective — one full of gratitude.
Some people argue about whether gratitude is an action or a feeling. While expressing gratitude is terrific, I also want to experience gratitude. I want to acknowledge the things in my life that I’m grateful for, but also go the extra step in realizing just how much these people and things matter to me.
The way the ER doctors, nurses, and technicians did their dance of handling several patients at a time was truly masterful. I gave thanks for their compassion and bedside manner. I also felt thankful that my son’s health situation wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
Here’s a challenge for those who love someone with a chronic illness: Instead of simply expressing gratitude, dig deep to fully experience it.
Digging into our souls isn’t always comfortable. We may unearth things we’d prefer to leave covered below the surface. When we go into our hearts and examine the pain and suffering accumulated over the years, past trauma may resurface. But I believe that when we work to process our emotions, trauma, and fear, we have the chance to experience gratitude at the core of our souls.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.