good life with anita patel
Part of cultivating a good life is showing up when and where you’re needed.
Life can be wonderful, but life can also be really hard. We all make it look so pretty and easy on social media, but in reality, while everyone has happy times, everyone also struggles at some point or another. I personally have experienced great joy and endured devastating loss. I do my best to experience it all, take life as it comes, and show up.
At the end of last year, my dad needed unexpected bypass heart surgery and then had major complications afterwards that almost took his life and required another surgery. My dad has always been there for me for as long as I can remember. He and my mom were both there to experience every milestone of my childhood and teenage years and stood by me through the transition into adulthood. Almost 15 years ago, we tragically lost my mom to a horrible form of cancer which was devastating. Immediately afterwards, my dad took on the role of two parents even through his own grief.
Last December, as he suffered in distress in the emergency room, unable to breathe and losing consciousness, it was my turn to step up. It was my turn to take care of him, be his advocate, fight for him, and navigate the crazy world of medical professionals and hospital systems to get him the care he needed. I gladly showed up to help one of the most important people in my life and prayed for his recovery. After almost 6 weeks in the hospital, my dad was finally released and sent home for the next phase of healing. My husband and I dropped everything during this time to take care of my father and even moved in with him to provide round the clock care.
After several months, my dad recovered from this ordeal and is now healthier and stronger than he was before his first surgery. While he still experiences some challenges as a result of his medical complications, he is doing very well and it really is a miracle that he’s still with us. It was amazing to have such a happy ending given all of the challenges and setbacks we experienced along the way.
But this story isn’t just about me and my dad. It’s also about my kind, sweet husband who showed up every single day for months. It’s about the guy who woke up early every morning to spend time with my dad in the hospital before going to work and who stayed up late every night so my dad had someone with him until he went to sleep. It’s about the guy who showed up not only for my dad but also for me. He showed up with love, support, patience, and help.
As an only child who already lost one parent years ago, this was SO hard for me — mentally, physically and emotionally. My husband was my rock through this whole experience and I don’t know if I could have survived it without him. He helps to shape our “good life” each and every day by showing up in good times and bad.
And then there are the good times. Cultivating a good life is not just about showing up during rough times. It’s also about showing up for the good times, too, because we’re needed then also. It’s about being present and enjoying the fun adventures, exploring the world around us, and making memories. It’s about giving back to those who love and support us in the form of time together and good old-fashioned love and appreciation. It’s about saying yes to the silly things and maybe even the things we don’t love just to see a smile on someone else’s face. It’s about showing up for the journey — all of the journey — and experiencing the ups and downs together.
(Photo Credit: Sarah Sharaf-Eldien)
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