We just passed the one-year anniversary of my husband’s heart attack. It’s not something we went out to celebrate, but we did take notice and reflect.

In some ways, it feels like it’s been much longer than a year, but in other ways, it feels more like, “One year? Already?” In many ways, he’s back to how he was before having a heart attack. In other ways, it’s changed both our lives.

After his surgery, his doctors warned him it would be a full year before he was completely healed – not from the heart attack, but from the surgery – and able to get back to his previous level of working out and being able to do heavy lifting. He took that advice to heart – no pun intended – and worked gradually to build up his strength and stamina. He’s made some changes in his diet, which was likely the main culprit and cause of his heart attack. And we’ve both started thinking more actively about bucket list items in our lives – the “someday” things we want to do and places we want to go before we’re too old to do or enjoy them. Of course, we’re at the age where we should be thinking about those things anyway, with or without a heart attack as incentive.

Some of those bucket list items include travel – both local and weekend getaways, and the once-or-twice-in-a-lifetime vacations. There are a number of places we’d like to visit or revisit, such as New Orleans, San Francisco, and Savannah (which we haven’t quite gotten around to yet, even though it’s just a three-hour drive from where we live). Other places we’ve only dreamed of, like Hawaii, Italy, and Australia.

Another way our lives have changed, although not in a way that anybody else would notice, is being actively aware and grateful for every day. When I wake up in the morning, and before I go to sleep at night, my prayers include, “Thank you for this day.” I’m grateful for every day I get to spend on this planet, and for every day my husband is here with me. It’s not something I take for granted, or something I just say automatically. Even a full year later.

Actually, I’ve always said some variation of that when I say my prayers, but now – and again, no pun intended – it’s more heartfelt than ever.

February 11, 2023
©Betty Liedtke, 2023

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