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I now appreciate every moment because I know it's a gift and not a given.

Death stared me in the face yet again, this time the two most important men in my life at once. Sitting in the coffee shop in the hospital, my Father in ICU with Covid and my husband in the emergency room going through all sorts of tests after having, what they suspected was a heart attack right next to me on the plane on our way to see my Dad in hospital.

My thoughts are reeling, I honestly do not know how I am keeping things together at the moment. Sitting here, after speaking to and messaging lots of people, my thoughts feel scrambled and I just know that I have to hold it together now. I’m sure the trauma will catch up with me, but for now, I have to be strong for them.

Kindness Prevails

I bumped into two godsend people while sitting here, two of my high school girlfriends. It’s been 20 years, where does the time go? Just seeing them here gave me so much comfort. Their hugs felt like no time has passed at all. I’m grateful. I’m overcome with gratitude for the amazing and kind people that got me through last night’s flight and this morning up to now. Who knew that people were this good and kind? My image of people has truly been restored.

The two doctors on the flight that came to help us saved my husband's life. I was panicked and never got their names, I would have loved to be able to thank them. The person sitting across the aisle from me on the plane offered to assist me in getting me to the hospital and making arrangements to get our rental car to me. The paramedics on the ground were wonderful, they had to stabilise my husband again as he had Supraventricular tachycardia once he was in the ambulance. This is an abnormally fast heart rate, his was between 200 and 300 bpm. They couldn’t manage to slow it down and ended up having to shock him while he was awake to stabilize his heart. I was luckily not there to see that.

It was like angels were with me every step of the way. I was never alone, but had strangers and long lost friends pop up out of nowhere.

Life’s Twists and Turns

It’s a little over two weeks later now. My dad passed away just over a week ago in ICU. His lungs had too much damage, and he couldn’t breathe. In the end, he died of cardiac arrest. It was unexpected, he had no health issues and always talked about how he doesn’t have to take any medication at his age. He was 67. It’s too young to have been taken away from us. What a strange thought that I am now without parents. My mother passed away at age 46 of cancer. I was only 18 years old then. Life takes genuinely unexpected turns.

I don’t feel strong enough to deal with all of this. But when this thought crosses my mind I not only think of what has been lost, but I think of what I have left.

My Awakening

Dealing with the sudden death of my father and almost losing the love of my life has been traumatic and heart-wrenching. It has also been endlessly valuable.

I feel like I have been abruptly woken up from a deep sleep staring at Reality in its frightening, exquisite face. My heart is pounding against my chest, I want to close my eyes because it’s too much. But I cannot break free from Reality’s gaze. This is my moment, this is where I make a life choice. This is when everything changes.

The thought that keeps grabbing hold of my heart is that life is short. I never want to take my loved ones for granted. Time is not guaranteed. Life and health are not guaranteed. I now appreciate every moment because I know it's a gift and not a given. I still feel fuzzy and have much to process, but this has been engraved on my heart.

Marcus Aurelius quote

Not long ago I prayed that God would teach me to live life wholeheartedly. This is my dream, to awaken to life and all it brings with open arms and open heart. Well, it’s here. I’m overcome and immensely grateful.

I am awake.


In gratitude, I’m not careless, but carefree. I don’t expect but appreciate. I acknowledge and recognise, I value and treasure. Because I now comprehend how truly lucky I am to have people who love me and whom I love, to have health and breath in my lungs. To have met the love of my life and to still have him, to be able to hold and kiss him and look into his eyes.

I now look at someone I love and am overwhelmed by feelings of absolute admiration and thankfulness. Bonds have been repaired and strengthened, and new ones have formed. Living a life filled with gratitude is the only way to live.

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. – Eckhart Tolle


Madelein Wolfaardt Author

Article by
Madelein Wolfaardt

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