Ettie Newlands

One of the clichés about clichés is that clichés are true.

And one of the clichés we hear as we get older is, “Every day is a gift.”

Then when we get even older, we break it down to knowing that every moment , not just every day, is a present wrapped up with a shiny bow.

We’ve all seen everything change in a literal heartbeat.

That happened the other day when my husband’s head was covered in blood and his body was tensed in pain from a freak fall.

A blur later, we were in the ER and I heard word fragments like “spinal cord injury,” “blood flow” and “back surgery.”

Those were things we’ve heard said about other people, loved ones even, but never about us.

Looking for the grownups and realizing we were them - wondering how something that only happens to other people happened to us – it was real, not just a bad dream.

Part of me knew life as we knew it was over. I was already wondering what we’d take with us when we moved into our daughter’s home, as I knew we’d have to.

The other part of me knew this was a glitch that would untangle in a minute, and we’d go home, back to normal life.

It turned out to be a little of both.

He has to make new boundaries, be more careful, lose the John Wayne mindset.

But neck brace nothwithstanding, there were no permanent injuries, no life-changing medical equipment to decorate around.

After a night in the hospital and a couple weeks of treading softly, we’ve cheated tragedy one more time.

And the clichés are true.

The faces of family and dear friends totally out of context around my husband’s hospital bed – calls and texts with the assurance of prayer – genuine offers of help – those things…and especially the fireballs, thank you Bev…truly made a difference.

Now the worst is really over, and he’s bored from being idle. We’ve talked a dozen times about how easily life can turn on a dime. We’ve thanked God with every breath for His mercy.

I wish it hadn’t taken this to remind us that every moment is a gift.

But I know it now, more than ever, and it’s one cliché I won’t forget.

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