Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Magnitude of Time

My window is open and I can hear the birds singing as a warm breeze brushes against my face. I watch a squirrel sprint up a freshly budded mesquite tree in search of nourishment. My amaryllis plant, sitting by my window, has burst into a bold and colorful blossom with soft swirls of white and pink, as though in some sort of unspoken celebration. Spring has arrived once more.

It's been 10 years now (14 years ill) that I have watched the seasons come and go beyond my bedroom window. Ten springs have turned into summer, and ten autumns have slowly given way to winter. Ten years of passing seasons that could have been filled with work, children, travel and adventure have slipped away from me, never to be retrieved. Ten birthdays of each and every one of my friends and family members have passed by without my presence. There have been many hundreds of unexplored weekends, thousands of missed opportunities and adventures, and millions of small everyday moments, never experienced, forever lost.

As I watch the various budding leaves and cactus flowers bloom into another season, I wonder how to measure so much loss of time. A full decade has gone by as I lay on the sidelines -- forced to spend each day in this tired and lonely room, quiet and immobile. While time escapes me, the magnitude of that time does not.

What would my life had been had I not gotten sick? What would the lives of 17 million others afflicted with this disease have been?

Today is International ME/CFS Awareness Day. For the millions who are sick, for the millions who have lost years of their lives, and for the millions more who will later become afflicted, please take a moment from your day to reflect and remember. If you know someone with ME/CFS, take the time to write them a quick note and let them know you care, and you have not forgotten them. Take time to learn more about this devastating disease and help spread the word to increase awareness. Take the precious time and the blessing of good health that so many ME/CFS patients have lost, and savor it. Savor it not just for yourself, but for them. For all of those who have lost so much, and who so desperately want their lives back.