On Christmas Day I was given a miracle; it was in the form a necklace. My fiancé’s parent gave me a cross with a diamond in it from the Miracles collection at Kohl’s with no explanation; that’s because one wasn’t needed.
I knew most of my fiancé’s relatives had read my memoir, Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House, about my medical trials the last 20 years. More importantly, they’d all witnessed my struggles over the last two years which were not included in those pages. So, I figured my “in-laws” thought I was in need of a miracle.
Although I only see my “in-laws” sporadically, they’ve seen me struggle to learn to eat again after my stomach and esophagus were rebuilt; swallowing is still a challenge. They’ve heard about my recovery from multiple lymph node biopsies and various other procedures designed to keep my body function despite the autoimmune condition battering it. I’m also certain they heard the fear, panic and distress in their son’s voice as he stood by my side trying to love me through my bouts of illness.
No, I didn’t need an explanation when I opened the box and saw what was inside. My “in laws” are good Catholics, unlike me, but they know I have a deep faith; it’s what’s helped me make peace with a body that often betrays me. It’s my belief in something greater that’s also given me the mental strength to forge forward. I was nearly brought tears thinking about how my “extended family” tried to offer me any bit of comfort as I face an uncertain future coping with chronic illness.
I’ve survived everything that’s been thrown my way; hemorrhages, cancer scares, strokes and surgeries. And, I’ve so done without many visible signs of the turmoil constantly raging underneath my skin. Yet, two days after receiving a gift that symbolized hope to me, I was barraged by the news that another person who touched my life was in need of his own miracle.
When I heard he died yesterday, I thought Clarence never got his miracle. So, I sat on the edge of my bed. I cried for him and all those, around the same age, who have passed on while I remain. I guess I felt a twinge of guilt.
I wondered: Why me? Why did I make it? Many of them had children, hordes of friends, and possibly amassed wealth greater than I’ve been able to accumulate over the years yet I was given more time; Time to do what? I wondered.
I wondered this only for a brief moment. Then, it hit me. The quote: “to whom much is given much is expected?” popped into my head. It reminded me that my life is not to be lived by comparing it to other but to live up to my own potential; to deal with the circumstances I’ve been given to the best of my ability so I can share what I’ve learned with others. I was also witness to their lives and deaths so that I can be inspired to make the best of the time I have and not take it for granted. Additionally, I know as long as I live, they live on in my heart and mind.
So, I dried my tears, said a prayer for the families of those dearly departed and put on my necklace for the first time. I cried again a little but not because I was sad. I was moved because I was reminded of how fortunate I am; I have people in my life willing to try to ensure I never run out of miracles in 2015 or beyond.
About the Author:
Nika C. Beamon attended Boston College in Massachusetts. Beamon published her first memoir, Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House in 2014. In 2009, Chicago Review Press published her well-received non-fiction book: I Didn’t Work This Hard Just to Get Married: Successful, Single Black Women Speak Out. In 2000, she published her first mystery novel, Dark Recesses. In 2002, her second mystery novel, Eyewitness was released.