Things I’m Grateful For
I tend to be more grateful these days than I used to be, and to help you understand why, I’ll share a little story. I’ll also list several reasons why I’ve been particularly grateful lately.
On Christmas Eve, I had to be at work at 10:30 p.m. to shoot photos at the church where I work. Not wanting to spend the evening apart from my wife, Jill, and our daughter, Alexus, I asked them to accompany me on the drive to the church.
Reason No. 1 I’m grateful: My family likes to spend time together.
Jill and Alexus are gene-positive for Huntington’s disease (HD), so spending time together as a family is important for us, especially because Alexus was in town visiting us for the holidays.
The plan for the evening was to drive to work, where they would drop me off. Then, they would drive around and hang out for about an hour and pick me up. Then, we would drive home.
Reason No. 2: My family reminds me it’s the little things in life that matter.
In this case, one of those “little” things was the long drive to work and back in order to spend time together.
Most places close early on Christmas Eve, so it’s not like Jill and Alexus had somewhere fun or interesting to go. But they didn’t care, because they were together, and that’s all that mattered.
At a certain point, they got hungry, so they searched for a place to eat, settling on a fast-food restaurant.
Reason No. 3: They are both still able to eat.
One of HD’s horrible symptoms is that it adversely affects one’s ability to control their muscles, which severely diminishes the ability to eat and swallow.
When the time came to pick me up, Jill and Alexus told me about a terrifying incident that had occurred.
After they left the restaurant, they headed back to pick me up. At one point, Jill wanted to show Alexus a large mural painted on a wall. So, they stopped the car for several seconds to look at it.
“ADHD saved our lives,” Jill remarked on the drive home.
As I have mentioned in previous columns, my wife has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, so she becomes distracted at times. That night, it seems she was distracted at the right moment. As the two paused to observe the mural, it delayed them just enough to avoid a potentially deadly collision at the next intersection.
According to Jill, another driver had barreled through a red light at about 70 miles per hour, barely missing the car Jill and Alexus were in by about 5 feet. It was one of those moments in which they could “feel the wind” of the other car passing by.
Reason No. 4: My wife and daughter are still alive.
The thought that Jill and Alexus could have died that night filled me with dread. It is terrible enough to know that they both have HD, but such an accident would be equally horrible.
I have learned many lessons since they were diagnosed. One is to be grateful for every second we are together. Being with the people you love is one of life’s greatest blessings.
English writer G.K. Chesterton said it best: “When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”
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