I hate hospitals, I honestly do.

The smell of sterile, boring chlorox emanating in every floor–the scent of cleanliness, yet there’s something about it that I really couldn’t put my finger on to. Also, to me, it brings up memories for me, awful memories, like my older brother being frequently hospitalised when I was little. I resented his kidney ailment, as I had no close playmate. Visiting my paternal grandfather was painful for me because it seemed like he was slipping away but trying to hang on at the same time. It was the same thing for my maternal grandmother, but for me, it was ten times worse, as she was a huge part of my childhood. Seeing her suffer, made my heart bleed each time I visited her. The last time I spoke to her was when she taught me about fractions, using paper. There was already a tube in her throat by then, so she wrote everything down in her wobbly but still beautiful handwriting. And because of that very interactive tutorial, I was able to do well in my maths quiz.

The day after that, she died.

I’ve seen people suffer while getting sick, and I thought I’ve seen the worst, until my father had a stroke. Back then, it was touch and go; and he was in the ICU for weeks, and in the hospital for a month. Maybe a little more. My days were marked with fear then, as the doctor warned us that the human heart can only take so much, and he might go any time. I dread going to work, knowing that I might get that dreaded phone call that my dad was no more.

But my dad was a fighter, and I have to thank him for being that. I am thankful that he is still alive, although he is being hospitalised rather frequently for the past few years.  I thought that there would not be another stroke.

Surely once is enough. 

But it did happen again. Hence, another trip to the hospital, but I felt terrible because I hadn’t been able to help much as I was sick, at the time, so I made it up by dropping by after work. But because of my mum’s care, and the people who help her look after him, he is recovering. For the people who helped my mother take care of him, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

I am writing this post because other things might have happened. My dad isn’t getting any younger, so his health isn’t actually as good as it was years ago. But he’s here. And fighting to get well. I am grateful to have grown up in a loving family. In a family who loves and reveres God. I am grateful to have a mother who supports my dreams as well as those of my older siblings. I am grateful that I can talk to her about anything. She is the reason why I still get up in the morning, when everyday seems to be a battle to go on fighting everyday. I am still struggling, this much is true.

There are so many other things I should be grateful for. For a job that helps me put food on the table. For a job where I am able to learn new skills. It really is strange, how things turn out. For a time, I have resisted working in the government office where my parents used to work. Not because I don’t want to, but I don’t want any possible mistakes I make to reflect on my parents, who were esteemed employees there. I grew up in laboratories–glass slides and microscopes were my friends. However, I still ended up working there, and it has become my third home. I am grateful for the working environment I have. It feels like family, like home. My friends there are like brothers and sisters, and you don’t get that anywhere else often.

I am also grateful for the gifts God has given me. Gifts that I am given opportunity to hone–to write, to draw. And friends who share the same interests with me. See the picture above? A friend has asked that I help her design bags for a cause. I will have to practice on these designs and try to make them look better. I am really, truly excited for the opportunities and projects that help me reach out to people from all walks of life. I am grateful for that opportunity. I am grateful to be a voice of some sort, however soft and small it may be.

I will end this post by being grateful for my very existence. That God creating me wasn’t an accident. I am grateful for experiences that make me grow and learn to be a better version of myself. I may not be perfect, but I am glad to be a work in progress.