I met Pat more than 25 years ago, when I first started working at UD's Center for Composite Materials. She's one of those people that, no matter what happens to her, manages to keep smiling and find the good in everything and everyone.
Pat and I haven't worked together for more than a decade now, but we've kept in touch with each other and one or two other friends--catching up for an outdoor dinner in the summer or a get-together around Christmas.
Pat's health hasn't been good for the past few years, so I friended her daughter (who is actually closer to my age than Pat is) on Facebook to make sure I'd hear if anything happened to her.
A few weeks ago, her daughter messaged me and said that Pat had been in the hospital to be treated for complications of a chronic lung problem. She was released to her daughter's care after a week and is now on oxygen 24/7.
Our other friend Penny and I recently went to visit her and spent a delightful evening catching up, reminiscing, looking at pictures, and eating cupcakes to celebrate Pat's 78th birthday. Pat was stylishly dressed for our visit, and she regaled us with stories of what a great time she had in the hospital.
Yeah, Pat even had fun and made new friends in the hospital....
She emailed me about a week ago to thank us for coming and to invite us back any time. She ended her message saying, "Every day is a blessing."
Every day IS a blessing, whether you're 61 and healthy or 78 and fighting a debilitating lung disease.
I think about Pat every day now. Next time, Penny and I won't wait so long to visit her--we never know when a visit might be the last one.
But I also think about what Pat said and try to appreciate the little things that make every day a blessing for me:
watching Pax sleep away a breezy Sunday on the screen porch at our beach cottage:
walking on the beach with Jodie:
and doing all of the other apparently ordinary but really extraordinary things I do with my wonderful family and friends.
Life is good--and yes, every day is a blessing.