Tuesday, April 6, 2021

A Letter to my Mum in Heaven...Until We Meet Again

 A Letter to my Mum in Heaven...Until We Meet Again

Today, as I write this letter, it's been nine years since she's gone. I'm addressing this letter to my mum in heaven. Nine years already that she has been looking after me from there. And she has done it so well, with love and care, as always.

mum in heaven

My dear mum in heaven

"My dear mum in heaven, there hasn't been a day that I didn't miss you. I miss your voice, your gentle hands, your hugs. Writing this letter is far from easy. It's hard as I would like to hug you and tell you how awful I feel that I didn't make it to say the last Goodbye. It was so hard not to be there with you when you breathed out for the last time. I so badly wanted to make it. When I literally ran out of the hospital just in time to escape before my operation. I managed to purchase the last flight ticket back home to only find out on my way to you that it was too late.

I couldn't forgive myself that I was too late. And I still wanted to tell you so much. I wanted to tell you again how much I love you and how honoured I was to have you as my mum. The best mum I could ever wish to have. The best mum God could give me. But just as He gave me you, He took you away from me. I couldn't understand it. I asked so many times why you? Why is it me who is losing my mum? Why can't I have you for a bit longer? And I wanted to scream so many times how much I miss you. You always used to say that things happen for a reason. Despite all that you went through. I couldn't understand. How could you still even think so after what you have been going through"?

Forever in my heart

"All I can do now is write this letter to you, my dear mum in heaven, and tell you that I still love you so much. I miss you mum, so often, yet I had to learn to move on with my life. It took me a long time to understand it. I needed time to grieve, time to heal. And it's not that I've forgotten now or that my love is weaker now. No, it isn't. The point is that after years I realised that I had to let go. My life hasn't stopped yet but it took me years to realise it".

Let go of loss

I thought I would never get married. How could I? I wanted my mum to be at my wedding. Surely I can't do it without her? My friend, whose father passed away a few years ago, shared her story with me. She said she felt the same about being happy. She told me that after she had lost her dad, her thought was that she would never be able to laugh again. How could she ever be happy without him? And that's where the blame comes again. We blame ourselves for continuing our lives without them. But God left you here on this planet for a reason. He didn't leave you here for you to feel guilty. You still love your mum, dad, brother...the same love, you hold on it, treasure memories of them in your heart. But you have to let go of loss. You have to continue living your life because otherwise, you will make them feel guilty for departing. 

A friend of mine planned to get married when I told her that I probably never will, despite loving my partner. She asked me, "Why"? When I said it's because I can't imagine not having my mum at my wedding, she said, "Imagine you would say this to your mum. That, because she died, you refuse to get married. How do you think she would feel?" Those words got me. Am I going to blame my mum for leaving me and for not being able to get married? How can I do this? She loved me so much. Imagine how guilty she would feel if she knew I didn't get married because of her, because she died before I got married. No, this isn't what I would want. It would break her heart.

loss of loved one
                                  Follow Smiley on IG @journeyofsmiley for more inspirational quotes

In their honour

We don't want them to feel guilty. It wouldn't be fair to blame them, that because they left us we are unable to continue with our plans, with our life. Imagine how would you feel if someone was to tell you that. Those words hit me. I realised that moving on with my life will be a way to show her my love. She would want me to. That's what she always wished for me. I can't do this to her. I still have to go on. My life didn't end. My life has to continue in her honour. To be an honest person who can look at the bright side of things when everything seems so dark and appreciate every little thing.

Treasure those memories

"Sitting here today and writing this letter to you, my dear mum in heaven, I still don't know why you had to get this terrible illness. But we don't always get answers to all our questions. And that's life. However, so much now makes sense. It's like putting these little pieces together to complete a puzzle.  As a single working mum who spent her last working years abroad before becoming ill, and me living abroad, we would not be able to spend so much time together otherwise. It was actually due to your illness and my job that enabled me to travel every other month home, that we could spend so much time together. It was more than some parents and children do.

There are many who, whilst they live close to each other, are always busy. And our time spent together was unforgettable. Those were my best years with you when we would be planning trips together or just spontaneously hit the road and go somewhere. Although the frequency decreased as your health deteriorated, I still keep all those memories in my heart.

I don't know why you became ill. Forever it will remain a mystery for me.  However, we had you here for so long whilst our older brother, your son already in heaven, only for a few days. So while I'm still sad that you're not with us any longer, it would be selfish to only want you for ourselves. Therefore the thought that you and he are reunited again makes my sadness more bearable. And I have to think of your words that everything happens for a reason".

My angel in heaven

"Mum, although you are in heaven now, I can still feel your presence. Just like on my Big day, on my wedding day in beautiful Bled (Slovenia). From nowhere suddenly came such rain that even the locals said that's very unusual for them. This sudden heavy rain in the middle of an otherwise sunny day didn't come to ruin our day but make it more unique. It is something no one will ever forget.

However, I know that it wasn't just a typical rain. It was you, a sign, a way you announced your presence. I could feel it, the vail gently touching my face. I could feel your touches. You were there with us. And you were happy for me that I finally married the love of my life. I did it, mum! I know you would want me to. And the rain stopped just in time. We could take the boats (pletnas) to the island in the middle of the lake for the church ceremony without getting wet".

Everything happens for a reason

"Just like you were there four months ago when my accident happened. I knew when the doctors said that I was a very, very lucky girl, that it was you. When the doctors called it a miracle, I knew it was my angel in heaven holding her protecting hand over me. And suddenly, I could see that your purpose was so much greater than only helping others whilst you were here with us. You were right in saying that everything happens for a reason. I have now witnessed it so many times. There is always a purpose for everything in life. We may often not understand what God is trying to tell us, but we only need to trust him that everything is as it should be".

until we meet again

Writing a letter to heaven

Writing this letter to my mum in heaven isn't easy. Although for some people, it may seem absurd to write a letter to someone who passed away, to others, it may be just the perfect way to document their grief. It's not that they expect an answer or that someone would really read their letters, or even that they would send them. But it may help them connect to their loved ones who can't be with them any longer.

At least once a week I used to call my mum, usually at the weekend, and I still miss our calls so much. It felt so empty after she passed away. Suddenly I didn't have anyone who I could call on the weekends. How would I spend my weekends? It was a part of my weekly routine that wasn't there any longer. So writing a letter to my mum in heaven is a kind of substitute for the weekend calls. And whilst for many years I would be too overwhelmed to write a letter to my mum in heaven, especially at the anniversary of her death, with the years that have passed I can now even smile whilst writing it.

Until we meet again...

"Whilst writing this letter brought some sorrow to my heart, there is also a smile on my face when I think of you, mum, of all the memories of you, of us, I treasure. It still hurts not to have you here, but now the tears of sadness are lowered by those of appreciation and gratitude. My love for you keeps me going and living my life in your memory. And I'll always carry you in my heart...until we meet again".

Thank you and till the next blog post,

Your Smiley

Monday, March 22, 2021

Spring of hope - What is the meaning of hope?

 Spring of hope - What is the meaning of hope?

Spring started last weekend. For me, it's the time of freshness. It's the time when nature is waking up from its long winter sleep, when beauty is rising out of the cold. Spring is also the time of hope. Hope and new beginnings. That's what the real meaning of hope is for me, renewal, the light at the end of a dark tunnel. 

We could say the same about Easter too. Spring and Easter are then intrinsically linked. They both remind us of the triumph of life over death. There is hope, actually more than hope. It is the faith, the belief, the truth that death is defeated forever. Through love. How much power love has? So much that it can destroy even sin and death forever. 

Faith, hope and love are three virtues that work together. Every time I go through hard times, I have to think of these three virtues. If there is nothing positive left, I know there is always hope. Hope is something that I'm holding on to when times are tough. I pray, talk to God. I know then I don't need to be afraid because I'm never alone. For a worrier like me, this is so reassuring. 

hope is light in the darkness

Definition of hope

So what is the meaning of hope and is hope important? Often I go to bed with my worries and my thoughts keep me awake. I often get annoyed with myself about it. Then I say to myself "And now stop finally! Stop with those thoughts! You can't do anything about it now, so just leave it up to Him. He won't let you drown". It helps me, and I can peacefully fall asleep. And the next day when I get up? I know it will be ok. Somehow it will work out. Hope keeps me going. Hope is essential. It helps me to manage my worries, my anxiety, and stress. 

I direct my hope in my prayers. I trust God that He will take care of the matters. Trust is also one of the definitions of hope by Merriam-Webster. It's "a desire", a wish, that we want to come true.

As we are approaching Easter there is also hope everything will be much more peaceful. People will celebrate and rejoice together. We forget about our struggles for a while. We give them to God, just like me at night with my worries. 

What is the true meaning of hope?

There is also hope that the world will get somehow back into the 'new' normal. The world won't be locked down forever. It's a year now since the lockdown started and what kept me going was hoping that it will one day pass. Because nothing is permanent, everything is temporary. Things do eventually get better. And that's the meaning of hope, the desire that everything will be eventually ok.  

The tough times don't break us. They teach us new lessons and things about ourselves. Things we didn't even know about ourselves. We see deep inside ourselves and discover more strengths. And we hope to take this with us into the future when times are good again. We learn so much about ourselves, about the world during those hard times. We discover that we can't lock down everything. So while the world was at a standstill, there was still kindness and humanity, unity, beauty, love, hope, and faith. 

Better day always comes
 Follow @journeyofsmiley on Instagram for a Daily Dose of Positivity Quotes 

The deeper meaning behind it

However, while it is important not to lose hope, those things will only endure and flourish if we maintain and enhance them.  Because hope without will and action is like a flower without water and sunshine. Sometimes nature needs to come to life again. So it is with us. Accidental hope often comes from disasters. When there is a disaster, we often hope for a miraculous return. The same as life has a habit of returning in nature. And God looks after all his creations, including us. We only need to open up to him. He can do even the extraordinary as to him nothing is impossible.

But again, you can't just rely on him, that he will do everything for you. I did find out that while I pray for strength and that God leads me the right way, it's still up to me to decide. So we can't blame God when we choose to go a different way. He gave us power and free will. It's up to us to use it and make the best possible out of the situation. Not selfish but beneficial for us, for the world, for the future. 

And that's where hope comes, a gift of the Spirit, a gift of God. We envision a better future, a better outcome. Hope then motivates us to take the first step towards it. We need to act as if not we tread on hope and kill it, just like a flower. So never kill the hope, plant, and water it instead. Therefore you need to make a move. You have it in your hands. The good thing about hope is that even if we kill it, it never really dies. Just like Easter, when we celebrate the triumph of life over death, so it is with hope. It always finds a way to come back to life. But if you don't turn it into action, you will forever remain in the darkness. Therefore let the spring be the season when you take action and reach the light.    


Happy Easter!


What does hope mean to you? Do you agree with my definition or do you have your own? Feel free to share it in the comment. 

Spring brings Easter, time of hope and new beginnings


 Thank you and till the next blog post,

Your Smiley

Monday, March 8, 2021

The Ultimate Guide to Survive Hospital Stays

 The Ultimate Guide to Survive Hospital Stays

11 tips on how not to lose your sanity during hospital stay

It's been three months now since I got back from hospital. I was taken to hospital after a van hit me whilst crossing the road. I had almost made it safely to the other pavement when suddenly I found myself laying on the ground.

The ambulance arrived within a few minutes, actually two ambulances. I couldn't move so they had to put me on a stretcher to transferred me to one of the ambulances. The accident happened just 5 minutes away from our house. My husband was there with me just after the ambulance arrived. Unfortunately given the current situation due to Covid 19, he wasn't able to come with me to the hospital.

Hospital Stay during Lockdown

Arriving at the hospital they took me straight for a scan. They were looking for broken bones and fractures. I was on strong medications. I couldn't feel much but I knew that I wasn't able to move. After the scan they took me to the emergency room. The results came back pretty quickly. They told me that I'll be able to go home soon. The scan didn't show apparently anything seriously wrong with me. I was so relieved. They called it a miracle (you can read my previous post about miracles in our lives).

Then suddenly another doctor came and told me that actually they did find some splits on my back and do need to consult a spinal specialist. I was confused. First they told me that I'll be able to go home the same day and a few minutes later that they will be keeping me in the hospital. As confused as I was, I wasn't able to do anything about it. I couldn't even move. Given this I knew that something must be wrong and that hospital would be the best place for me in my condition. I couldn't go even to the toilet, so they had to insert a catheter.

11 tips from an insider

From the emergency room I was then moved to a Covid room whilst waiting for the results from my Covid test. You may think a room just for myself, with TV...what a luxury! Unfortunately, I couldn't watch the TV as I didn't have my glasses with me. Actually I didn't have any of my stuff with me at all. When they took me into the ambulance car and my husband came to say goodbye (I was in tears), he took all my stuff with him home. I had absolutely nothing with me. I came to the hospital as they found me lying on the ground. 

From one night, it was 11 nights in total in the end and these are the tips from an insider. Whilst I don't claim to be an expert, my 11-night stay in hospital offers some insights into how to survive hospital stay without losing your sanity. Especially as my hospital stay was during the time that the country was in lockdown due to Covid 19. 

tips to survive hospital stay

1. Be nice

It's always better to be nice as you never know how long you may have to stay in hospital. Being nice will make it easier for you. Be nice to hospital staff as well as other patients. Being nice to others, they are more likely to be nice back to you. This helped me a lot, especially as I couldn't have any visitors due to the lockdown. 

2. Make friends

Perhaps because of lockdown and not wanting to feel so isolated we really made an effort to be there for each other. We had a good laugh in our ward. The kindness of the hospital staff and the support of other patients helped to make my hospital stay more enjoyable. I really made some good friends. I can't wait to meet up with them again once we all feel better and the country is out of the lockdown.

3. Cooperate

It's better to cooperate with the staff than being stubborn and thinking you know it all. Even though you may be frustrated at times as the messages you are getting may contradict each other. Like in my case when I was initially told I could go home shortly and in the end stayed in hospital for almost 2 weeks. Believe me, working together with the staff is for the best. After all, they are doing their job and they want the best for you. They may also sometimes be frustrated with how things work too. However, they have to follow hospital's protocol and that's what they do.

I had a great physio and occupational therapists whilst in the hospital. We worked together to get me into shape. From my first baby steps to using a walking trolley and finally on to learning to walk with crutches. They were also there for me when I started to get flashbacks, a week after the accident. They organised support for me. I received pastoral care and it was so helpful. They arranged my staged return back home as the trauma I went through caused that I was scared to leave my room. That was the only safe place for me, but I wanted to go home so I knew I've to overcome it. Being able to face the outside world again. With their help I was able to pass the stairs and car test in order to go back home.

4. Communicate

Communication is the key. Play an active role in your care, ask questions and pay attention to the hospital routine. The staff like when patients actively participate in their care, when they show an interest in how things work. Don't be nosy and rude but do it in a polite and respectful way. Ask about your treatment - you can refuse it if you don't agree with it.

I don't like injections and made it quite clear every time I was about to get one. So the nurses started to ask me if I would rather not have one. Then you need to look into the consequences. What happens if I refuse one? What does it do to my body? Check the benefits of it. Consider all the relevant facts when making a decision. I decided to continue with the injections as the benefits outweighed the negatives and slowly got used to it. The best way that worked for me was having a conversation with the nurse whilst she was administering the injection. This sufficiently distracted me. I could focus on something other than the injection. It's all in our minds. It's never as bad as we think it will be.

So if you communicate with the staff, they are more likely to help you. If the painkillers don't work for you, tell the nurse. This was my case too so I had to ask them to change it. Remember they can't know everything if you don't tell them. They are also only human.

5. Be patient 

You're not the only one on the ward (unless you're in a private room but even then, being patient is critical). So sometimes it takes a while for someone to come and assist you. Therefore, if you need help to get up from the bed and go to the toilet, don't wait until you're desperate. Press the buzzer earlier. Also notice when the shift changes are as they may not be available then. So better to press the buzzer before or you may be waiting until after the new shift has settled.

6. Accept help

This was something I had to get used to. I apologised so many times for not being able to do things for myself and needing help. However, the nurses always reassured me that this is ok. I wouldn't be here if I would be able to do everything myself and everything was fine with me. However frustrated you may be that you're often not able to do even simple things, remember this is temporary. It will get better and, in the meantime, let the others to look after you and be grateful. 

7. Don't compare yourself with others 

Comparing yourself and your progress with others is so easy to do, yet so wrong. Remember no one patient is the same as another. It's not only about our abilities and strengths but also all injuries are different. Just because someone is able to walk within a few days, doesn't mean that you will be able to as well. Even if their injury may seem similar to yours. Support them and use their achievements as inspiration for your own progress. However, don't set yourself a timeframe and don't push yourself to be there just because someone else is. You need to be patient with yourself. This brings me to the next point.

8. We're all different 

As mentioned in the previous point, don't compare yourself with others. We're all different, our bodies are different and so are injuries. Everybody also reacts differently to treatments. Remember you're doing great so be kind to yourself. Be patient with yourself. You're making progress every day, even if sometimes it's hard to see it. What helped me was to keep a journal. I also put my first time achievements into the calendar on my phone - first time I walked to the toilet, first time I sat down on a chair to have a meal, first time I walked on crutches. I also captured when I felt worse, after certain actions or treatments. This allowed me to discuss this with the nurses and doctors without forgetting.

This was the case with the strong painkillers I was receiving as they were the only ones that worked for me. However they had bad side effects on me. Without them however I was in so much pain that it was impossible for me to get out of the bed. So we had to find a balance that would enable me to do my physio exercises whilst also not feeling the strong pain.

You have to also remember that just as all the patients are different, so are the doctors, nurses, all the staff you meet in hospital. We are all human, so we are all different. Therefore the way they communicate, they approach you, may be very different. They all have their own ways, their own style. Different styles of communication, different approaches work for different people.

One of the doctors really upset me as perhaps I wasn't used to the way he was talking to me. However, a nurse noticed it and comforted me, which was really helpful. He didn't come across as someone with empathy when this was what I needed then. On the other hand, whilst he was very factual and this approach may suit other patients, it did push me to prove him that he was wrong about me. It was hard for me to move when I was in pain, however this also initiated that we started to look for ways that will work for me. After all I did want to get better and the hospital staff was there to help me. We're just all different and do certain things differently. 

9. Try to get as much rest as possible 

This can often be very hard in hospital. Yes, sleep is beneficial for your recovery and you are supposed to get better in the hospital, yet it's not the best place for getting a good sleep. At least for a person like me who needs absolute quiet when trying to get a sleep. Hospitals are quite a noisy place, night time as well as during the day. It's not unusual that they will transfer a patient to your room in the middle of the night. Earplugs may be a good idea if they work for you. If you are like me and you can't stand earplugs (due to my ear problems), then getting a good sleep will be quite a rare thing. There is the noise, pain, light (although you could sleep with an eye mask). Often when I was thinking that perhaps I could have a nap it was time for my physio or lunch time. So learn the routines and try to get a bit of sleep whenever you can. This leads to the next point.

10. Routine 

Learning the hospital routine will help you not only to find time for a nap but also to be prepared for other things. Whilst some activities may not have a specific time, others such as mealtimes will. And you would not want to miss those. I wonder that I didn't put on weight in the hospital - we felt really spoiled! The cooked, fresh and nutritious meals and the different choices. We really couldn't complain! Knowing the routine will also help you to prepare any questions you want to ask during the doctors' visits. Remember doctors come only once a day so if you want to ask them something you better prepare beforehand and don't miss them.

11. Prepare for any setback 

The reality is that not everything will go always as you wanted, according to the plan. Remember healing isn't linear and there are often setbacks. A big one for me was when I got a urinary infection (often caused by catheter). Not nice, especially as you feel you need to go to the toilet every five minutes but you can't walk properly and getting on/off the bed is so painful. So it is with many drugs. I was taking strong painkillers that were making me sick. Luckily the anti-sickness tablets were helping. However my stomach often then got upset and I so had to take another drug to help with this as well. The best you could do is to accept it, grin and bear it, rather than get frustrated about it. Frustration doesn't help, only makes things worse. 

Bonus tip

The last thing I would add would be - bring your own things that would make the stay for you more enjoyable and the time to go quicker. You can bring your own clothes, anything suitable (pyjamas, shirts, depending on your injury/treatment). It may make you feel more comfortable and you may feel better in your own clothes. Although saying this I was brought to the hospital by the ambulance without any of my own stuff. After finding out first next day that I may be there for a few days (it wasn't clear quite how long at this stage) I asked my husband bring me the most important things. It wasn't so easy in the lockdown as no visitors were allowed. However he was able to leave my things at the reception and the nurse then brought them to me. I therefore used a mixture of clothes, mine and those from the hospital. They were actually quite comfortable. 

I also noticed a patient in the next bed had her own medication as she was allergic to lots of medications. So it's always a good idea to have your own in cases like this. Whilst as already mentioned, we couldn't complain about the food, I was glad my husband brought me teas I like as well as cranberry juice (helped with my urine infection). Also having things such as your phone or laptop, books, magazines, Bible and anything else you enjoy to do and will make the time pass quicker, is worth having.

Thank you NHS

Thank you NHS 

So when it comes to my hospital stay I couldn't complain about anything. I actually even promised to bake cupcakes for the hospital staff once I get better (I baked for key workers during the first lockdown). I am also thankful for all the help after my hospital stay (you can read about it in my first post). It definitely makes me appreciate all the people working in hospitals even more. So when there is a discussion about healthcare and the NHS for me it's not the organisation but the people. I want to say Thank you to all of them for taking good care of me during my hospital stay in the time of pandemic.

Thank you and till the next blog post,

Your Smiley

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Miracles do Happen - 8 Life Lessons that can Prove it!


Miracles do Happen - 8 Life Lessons that can Prove it!

Today, as I write this, it has been exactly three months since the doctors said to me "You know, you are a very, very lucky girl!". They called it a miracle. Three months ago I 'was reborn'. Since then every day is a new miracle for me and this is a proof that miracles do happen.

I said my mum was looking after me from heaven. I have an angel up there who protects me when I need it most. It wasn't my time to go just yet. God decided to leave me on earth for a bit longer. He always has a plan. We may not always understand why things happen the way they happen. However, we often learn, sooner or later, that everything that happens has its purpose. You may not understand but trust God, he has a plan. It may not always be what you want but it always turns out to be for the best.

As I led on the ground I couldn't move but was glad that I could at least open my eyes. Everything seemed very blurry but I was grateful I'm alive. I couldn't move but I felt that the strong medications seemed to be working. The next day, after a couple of hours of sleep, the pain woke me up. I was in the hospital.

I had tears rolling down my face when I first tried to move my legs. It was the pain but at the same time also the relief that I could move my legs. When after 24 hours I finally got up off the bed and did my first few baby steps I felt the pain but also the determination. I wanted my life back so badly. Since then it's three months already and oh my, what a ride it was, a ride full of miracles...

Miracles are defined as extraordinary events, supernatural phenomena, something that humans can't explain. They are a manifestation of spiritual power, a remarkable development of events with a very welcome result. Given this that I came out of my accident with just the injuries I did coupled with my progress in recovery it can be described as a miracle. And whilst this wasn't an easy journey it did teach me so much. It did prove that miracles can happen every day. We just need to change our perception about them. So what are the life lessons I learnt in the past three months?

8 Life Lessons that Prove Miracles can Happen in Everyday Life

1. Be realistic

Thinking about it, it's so important and even though I know it, still this wasn't easy. I knew the doctors said that the recovery is going to be a long process and still I tried to bash against it. It wasn't because I couldn't hear the doctors, nor because I couldn't understand them. No, it wasn't a problem with them, it was a problem with me. I could clearly hear and understand the doctors, I just didn't want to accept the reality. Instead I would worry about work and set me a time plan by which I wanted to be out of the bed, the house... However, it doesn't work this way.

Although you may have a desire or try to suppress the feelings of not being able to do the things you want, it doesn't change anything. You must listen to your body. You have to accept that when doctors say that this is going to be a long process you can't fight against it. Otherwise it will fight you. 

The whole time in the hospital I was thinking when I get home I'll be better, all will be fine... But it wasn't. The pain was still there. I didn't have the medical help and the medication I had in hospital. So slowly I started to realise that it is not just about what I want but more about what I need. Accepting the reality sooner rather than later is just for the better. You won't then be so disappointed that things don't always go as you want them to. Being a fighter is good, the motivation to get better and the determination is great, however you need to be realistic. You need to set yourself realistic goals. You need to listen to your body, to your soul.

What is also important however, is that you need to realise that you will fail, and not only once. And this is totally fine. The failures are there to teach you. Don't be afraid of them, use them, turn them into a success. The reality is that you carry your cross and falling down is not a weakness that you need to be ashamed of. What is important is that you need to stand up and keep going until you reach the finish line. Don't give up - after all, you do want the miracles to happen.

                                 Image curtesy of Sarah K

2. Patience is the key

Until we get to where we want to be it will take a time. Remember healing takes time, it comes with ups and downs. Healing isn't a linear path and you can't rush it. This was one of my biggest challenges. I had to learn to be patient with myself (read my previous post on patience and its importance in recovery). When I came back home from the hospital, it took me a week till I was able to use the stairs. I was so proud when I did it. However when my husband asked me if I thought a week ago that I would be able to go down and up the stairs in a week's time, I said, "I was hoping to do it after a few days".

Why? Why are we so harsh on ourselves? Is it because accepting the reality is sometimes so hard or is it because we always rush everywhere? Being ill wasn't in my plan... I can't afford to be ill... How many times do we think so? But the truth is that if we don't take care of ourselves, we can't expect to get better. Rest is so important. I like the quote "if you do not make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness". It is so true. Take all the time you need. Take it day by day, little by little, step by step and slowly, slowly you will get there.

3. To recover fully you need to recover from all sides

Time however, doesn't always heal all the wounds. Sometimes healing may require professional support. Remember your mental health is just as important as your physical health. If you need support with it, it isn't a personal failure. It doesn't mean that you are weak. It doesn't mean you are weaker than a person who was able to cope without professional help. And it doesn't make them any better person just because they didn't need support.

Please don't compare yourself, ever! We all are different. We all are unique! Everyone's story is different, everyone starts at different points. It requires a strong person to open up and speak openly about their trauma. You have to remember that your feelings matter and it's ok if you need help. It's actually more than ok, it's very normal. It's important that you receive the support you need. You can do a self-referral or you can speak to your doctor or GP. There are numbers of professional networks that would be able to help, such as Samaritans, Time to Talk, Anxiety UK, Life Centre and others. They would be able to help or you may be eligible to receive help via your employer. 

4. Open up, share your feelings

People may not know how you feel if you don't communicate. It helped me enormously to open up to my closest circle and be honest about my feelings. Don't think that you can't talk to them as you don't want to burden them with your problems. If you feel so, speak to them about it. You will see that you really don't need to worry. They love you and they are there for you. And if not, they are not the right people to have around you. Your feelings don't make you a burden, they make you a human being (read more about feeling like a burden and how to crush this feeling in my previous blog post). 

5. Miracles of Kindness

Be kind to yourself and to others. And this is so crucial. You need to allow yourself to feel what you feel. Sometimes I had days when I didn't feel well, when I needed alone time, when I needed to rest. You need to realise that this is all ok. This is healing. Rest is just as important as every other part of your treatment. Sleep helps us to feel better both, physically and mentally. It is beneficial for our recovery. Your body knows what it needs, you just need to listen to it. Some days I was just grateful I'm alive. You also have to remember that whilst it's ok to feel what you feel, you need to let it go. Do not let it consume you.

However, it is also important to be nice to others. You know it - if you are nice to others, they are nice back to you. You are then even nicer and everyone around is nice... A rapport builds around you and it makes you even nicer and feel better. This reminds me of the quote "A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles".

There were many days when I couldn't do things myself due to my injury. Very early I realised that when others offer help it doesn't always mean that they will do it always there and then. My husband was busy with his job, the household, helping me. It was therefore just normal that he also needed some time to switch off. I totally understood that he needed some time off and appreciated all that he was doing for me, I couldn't do without him. However, sometimes I wanted certain things to be done there and then and in my way. Thinking now about it, I just have to shake my head - Oh, really do I sometimes behave like a little child (or even worse)?!

Surely, we are all different and therefore do things differently. Yes, it may not be in the way you would do it but who said that your way is the right way? So if you need to rely on help from others, you have to accept it. Sometimes it will be done at the time that is suitable for them and in the way that works best for them. Who said that the floor needs to be hoovered right now and from the door to the wall? I couldn't hoover it myself so the only option was to accept that my husband will do it the way and at time that works for him. Even if I may prefer it a different way. This leads me to the next point I learnt. 

6. Be grateful

Even if the floor hasn't been hoovered when I wanted it to be, I realised that it doesn't matter. What is important is that I am alive and surrounded by people who support me. Your priorities will change.

What also helps is to learn to accept help. You can't do everything by yourself whilst you are recovering, however frustrating it may be. You have to learn to accept help and be grateful. What you can do however is to focus on things you can do and do them to the best of your ability. Slowly, slowly, you will make progress. Remember even a small progress is still a progress and be grateful for it. Take pride in your achievements. Give yourself a hug and be proud of yourself.

Sometimes it's hard to see your own progress. Especially when you are in pain and are feeling that things are going backwards. Then it was usually the others from my support circle who reminded me of my progress. They helped me to see it again with my own eyes and appreciate it.

A friend of mine suggested making an achievements board and it works perfectly. I stick all my achievements with the dates on it (you can view the video on my IG or TikTok, @journeyofsmiley). It is a great idea as it allows me to see my progress over time from the first day of my recovery. This visual aid enables me to see my progress and appreciate it when I'm at my lowest. It is also a great motivator.

                                        My Achievements Board 

7. Prayer brings Miracles

Every day I'm grateful for another new day. It's been three months now since I could say "I was born a second time". Sometimes it feels like there is nothing positive and the depression is trying to creep in. Then I know there is always hope. I have to believe, believe myself and believe in God.

When you go through a difficult time in your life, God is always with you. Remember, you are never alone. So when you go through a tough time, pray. Pray and God will hear your prayer. This causes miracles. Sometimes when I was in so much pain that I didn't know what to do anymore, I started to pray. And although the pain didn't stop as soon as I started to pray I often felt relief after a time. I found myself being able to get back to sleep again.

Prayer brings miracles along with blessings. However, don't pray only when you need God. Don't forget to also say thank you to him when you get better, when you get what you prayed for. Be grateful for every new day. You woke up, you are still here on this planet. And even if you don't have a good day, you are still here and tomorrow is another, hopefully better day. Every new day is a proof that miracles do happen.

8. Do things you enjoy

This is essential as it helps you to keep positive and a positive mind does the magic. I realised very early on that I had two options. Either sit and cry about what has happened to me or I can take it into my hands. Be in charge and have control over it and do my best. Remember things happen for a reason. I wouldn't have ever started a blog if I hadn't had the accident.

It is also demonstrated to me that people with a positive mindset may be more willing to open up about what has happened to them, what they are going through. They are also calmer and sleep better. This may then be the reason for why they respond better to treatment. Doing what you enjoy will help you to nurture your positive attitude. Get the most out of your days. Everything is temporary including your bad days, which is a good thing, although it does also unfortunately apply to the good days too.

The best approach for me was to do most things on my good days. Now, I don't mean only things I enjoy. It means also activities that you may not be so keen on but are necessary for your recovery. Whilst in hospital I knew that I needed to move so my body, my muscles don't go stiff. However, it was hard for me to do when I was in pain and I showed some bad reaction to certain medications. So we had to find a balance. I would take the medications before my physio so I don't feel so much pain. This way I was able to do as much as possible. Therefore, do things when you feel your best and focus on the things you can do.

Don't worry too much about the future. God has already got a plan for you, so instead live in the moment. Remember you can't change the past, but you can make the most out of the present. You plant now so you can harvest later. You can't run a marathon before you learn to walk. Everything has its order.

Learn to take pleasure from the little things. I enjoyed going for walks. It has also been proved that five minutes in the nature is enough to improve your mood. Whilst I was walking at a slow pace, I also started to notice more things around me. Things that I had never noticed before. I really learnt to live in the moment and appreciate even the smaller things in life.

Writing Christmas cards and thinking of all the people I was addressing them to, made me happy. Yes, it was a shame I couldn't see them. The country was also in lockdown due to Covid-19. On the bright side I wasn't missing too much. Everything was closed and everyone was stuck at home, not only me. So it was the best to use the time for my recovery (you would say if an accident was supposed to happen, this was probably the best timing).

Miracles Happen Everyday

Looking back at it I now understand the purpose of it. Now, don't get me wrong... I would rather not have to go through it all. It was a very painful lesson, but I have never learnt so much about myself compared to these last three months. Everyone is saying how well I'm doing, and it is really a miracle that I'm where I am three months after the accident. However, for the miracles to be working I was praying every day that God gives me the strength that I can move further forward. That I can progress in my recovery.

I would also call it a natural miracle when a worrier like me masters patience with herself. I'm already getting so much better at it. The past three months really tested not only my patience but also my faith and my relationship. It all however survived the storm. Actually, it not only survived, it actually grew during that storm. 

I learnt so much on my journey of recovery. Although I was never a negative person, this is turning me into even a more positive person. Despite all the hard times I have had to go through. I feel that with God's help and my positive mindset there is nothing that I can’t overcome.

We are so much stronger than we think and that's why when we fall, we get back up and keep going. When times get tough so do we... And although those times will pass, the strength we acquired will stay with us. Then even in the most impossible situations miracles can become possible. The good thing about miracles is that we don't have to wait for them to happen. They happen every day and sometimes even little changes are enough to see big miracles. 

Thank you and till the next blog post:)



A Letter to my Mum in Heaven...Until We Meet Again

  A Letter to my Mum in Heaven...Until We Meet Again Today, as I write this letter, it's been nine years since she's gone. I'm a...