Every Now and Then

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May 10, 2016
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Chris’s Story
May 11, 2016

Every Now and Then

Pocket Watch1 (1)
Pocket Watch1 (1)
 
 
 
Every now and then,
When I am all alone,
When silence fills the room,
And my time is all my own,
 
 
Memories of who I used to be
Flood my heart and mind,
Send a torturous, cruel reminder
That I miss the woman I left behind.
 
 
I think of all the plans she made,
Her goals, her hopes, her dreams,
And I ache for what I longed to be,
Not possible now it seems.
 
 
For then I thought that I had time,
An endless bright future ahead,
Boundless energy and hopeful spirit,
Life uncluttered and free from dread.
 
 
I never envisioned this unkind twist of fate,
The way the world would turn,
The toll this would take, the price it would demand,
That for my past I would forever yearn.
 
 
If I had understood the road ahead,
The burdensome future that lay in wait,
If I had known that time was short,
Different choices I might have made.
 
 
I might have tried to live my life
Minus the anxiety and grief,
Relished every moment, paused to appreciate,
Had I known time was such a thief.
 
 
Perhaps I would have danced and laughed
Without worrying what others thought,
Perchance I would have abandoned my fears,
Grasped the ring without regret or afterthought.
 
 
I am sure I would have forgiven more,
Showed compassion and affection without end.
I would have endeavored to understand,
To be a far better friend.
 
 
I am certain I would have made it known
To family and friends alike,
Just how much they mattered to me,
How they were cherished, how they filled my life.
 
 
But try as I might, I cannot go back,
Can’t erase the damage I’ve done,
Cannot replay the reel, rewind the tape,
No redeeming the woman who is gone.
 
 
I must leave it behind me and live in this moment,
Let go of who I was then,
Savor the present, embrace the now,
Recognize that I can begin again.
 
 
I miss the woman I left behind,
The one I now barely know,
The one that hoped, and dreamed, and wished,
That could not imagine how her future would go.
 
 
But she was not some virtuous soul,
Not one to be admired or praised.
Little profundity or wisdom dwelled in her,
A woman who made many mistakes.
 
 
And “then” was not such a perfect life,
Perhaps not as golden as it once did seem.
We gloss the flaws and blur the failings,
Romanticize and believe the dream.
 
 
I am not now what I was then,
But I was never meant to be.
I dwell on the past, count the losses and costs,
Ignore what should truly matter to me.
 
 
I grieve for the things I might have done,
Weep for chances lost,
But I can still embrace, treasure my life,
And become what I know I must.
 
 
For I cannot reclaim the time,
Can’t erase my bygone mistakes,
Cannot pretend that I do not now know,
Must resign to the path I’m required to take.
 
 
Yet my journey is not without all hope,
It is more than pain, anguish, and regret;
It is also a chance to flourish, to grow,
Overcome the despair, give back, repay my debt.
 
 
For I am wiser than the woman before,
And compassion once missing and hidden,
Now dominate my heart and soul, revealed,
Free to exercise what I had once forbidden.
 
 
I have learned to pause and behold,
Take a breath, delight in each second,
And I endeavor to love and accept,
Welcome every chance that I am given.
 
 
I have value, and I have worth,
I still have much to give,
Though my life won’t play out how I once thought,
How I then believed I would live.
 
 
So when I ponder every now and then,
When I am all alone,
When silence fills the room,
And my time is all my own,
 
 
I must learn to use the time
To tell myself new truths,
To cherish the blessings that I still have,
To rest, to thank, to begin anew.
 
 
And every now and then,
When I think about “now” and “then,”
I must forget the pain, loss, regret,
And learn to live my life again.
 
Melissa VanHouten
Having been diagnosed in February 2014 with gastroparesis, one of the many different types of digestive motility disorders, I know first-hand the damage and destruction this disorder can cause. It is truly life-altering. It is my desire to advocate on behalf of all of us stricken with this devastatingly destructive disease. I want treatments that work. I want a cure. I want better efforts and advocacy on our behalf. We need awareness. We need help. We need a year in which not one more of us has to suffer and die.

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