In 2003, I lost my mother suddenly. I still remember the day like it was yesterday. I had just returned to work after a break following an outpatient medical procedure my mom had accompanied me to.
Before I left my job for the procedure, I started working on a project for a friend who had asked me to create a video celebrating his grandmother’s 80th birthday. In prior weeks, we had met a few times during happy hour to discuss the project and to share my ideas for the video. We used to work together, so our meetings were more casual than formal.
Before I took my medical leave, my friend and I met so that I would have all of the pictures I needed for the video. I told him that I would start working on the video before I left for two weeks, and he was comfortable with that. We had about a month before the big party.
He gave me a CD with all of the pictures he had scanned, arranged in order of use, which made my editing job significantly easier. I transferred the images from the disc into my editing application and arranged them in order. In just an hour, the hardest part of the job was done — or so I thought.
Expect the unexpected
I returned to my job in advertising two weeks after the procedure and was ready to hit the ground running.
On the third morning, I received a call at the office informing me that something had happened to my mom and that I should rush to her house. I told my boss that I had to leave, and she shooed me out of her office in a hurry. I jumped in a cab and headed to Mom’s house.
When I arrived, the neighbor across the street told me that my mom had been taken to the hospital a few blocks away. I took a cab there. From that moment on, my life would change. But I didn’t know then how much it would change.
My mom had suffered a massive stroke and didn’t make it.
I didn’t return to work for three weeks. When I did, the emotional scars were still raw.
My buddy reached out to me to see if I needed anything. I told him how empty I felt, and that I didn’t think I could finish the video because of everything that had happened. He laughed and told me he believed that I could finish what I had started and that he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. He promised to deliver anything I needed.
Over the next two weeks, he met me every day after work and sat with me while we worked on the project. We joked and laughed at his family pictures, and I finally got the video finished — and on time! The feelings I had about my mother’s passing brought out a resilience I didn’t know I had.
Believe you can, and you will
Last week, I did something I hadn’t done in almost three years: I completed my first video! My accountant’s wife needed a video produced for her doctoral class, and she reached out to me for help. Admittedly, I was apprehensive. I had last sat at my computer to edit a video about 30 months ago.
We started a dialogue about the type of video she needed. One video turned into possibly three, and definitely two. The last video I produced was on the Monday before my first spontaneous pneumothorax in 2017. Since then, I’ve been gun-shy about picking up my craft again.
Over the years, that apprehension increased. Over time, it turned into fear, and I started becoming overwhelmed with the thought of being unable to enjoy what I love to do. I was perplexed about my inability to overcome my obstacles and contribute to my family and household.
I decided to accept the challenge as another adventure for me. When I started the project, I had forgotten some of the basic skills needed for video editing. But the more I stayed with the challenge, the more my skills returned. YouTube helped, too!
Within a week, I had finished the first video and received payment for my work. I immediately felt a sense of satisfaction and achievement, and I also felt that I had overcome my biggest obstacle: my own thoughts.
In times of crisis, two people believed in my abilities and helped me to believe in myself again. You never lose the knowledge or skills you’ve acquired during your lifetime, but if you don’t continue to nourish them, your thinking can cause them to wither away, leaving you empty.
And just like that, I got another call from a potential client.
Note: Sarcoidosis News 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 other 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 Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.
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