5 Last Chance Opportunities To Show Unconditional Love
I’ve been thinking about all the things I wish I’d said or done and didn’t get the chance. I imagine most of us have have experienced this. So I’m going to talk about last chance central, unconditional love and how you can still have a loving relationship with chronic illnesses. I’ll be sharing 5 opportunities I believe we should take to show limitless love.
**WARNING This blog contains possible triggers surrounding death and loss of loved ones. So although this blog is mostly about love if you feel uncomfortable whilst reading this, please stop and if necessary, speak to a professional.
This blog is based on my own experiences. I am not a doctor and all thoughts are my own, other than attributed quotes. If you need medical advice speak to a professional.
Before we start talking last chances and unconditional love, I need to get my thoughts on Bucket lists off of my chest and I need to ask you this:
If You Had Only 24 hours left to live, What Would You Do?
I’m asking, because there’s myriad possible answers so choosing one becomes, well, tricky! I guess Space would be a mission 😜. I guess this is how bucket lists became a thing, but I’m not one for that kind of idiot box cheese.
I mean, why write a list of things you want to do before you __⌛, when you could just get up off your arse and do them? In my opinion, the idea’s been hijacked by social media disease and become another thing you have to have!
Don’t sit around thinking and planning, get on and do the things you dream of because one day you may no longer have a choice. If you have the chance to do what you dream of every day, then go for it. But chuck that icky bucket!
** Of course when someone is diagnosed with a terminal or degenerative illness, they should grab that bucket and do everything they can.
Chronic Illnesses and Last Chance Decisions
Having a chronic illness can change your viewpoint and may need you to adapt your lifestyle, meaning you may miss opportunities. I think this has the potential to create a shift in your decision making.
- Grieve for what could have been or
- Choose to take a different path and make the best out of the situation
- Feel held back from taking chances
- Be left in a position you’d never imagined could be you.
- Change what you thought of as or
- Feel that unconditional love has reached its limits
- Become dependent for support with money, travel or childcare
- have your partner or child become your carer
- Feel too sick and weak and remain where you are
- Might take opportunities, even when you feel worse after doing
When you’ve been given medical clearance, be kind to yourself, showing unconditional love to yourself before you give it to your loved ones. Please don’t let those countless opportunities pass you by just because you have an illness.
My Own Last Chances
These are the stories of last chances I wish that I’d taken had I known it. **This may be distressing reading.
As a Mummy I’ve felt the loss of my baby born unresponsive and whisked away from me. On the ward, the cot by my bed lay empty. Joel and I were told he was having a 4 hour fit. Not knowing if he’d make it or have brain damage, I feared I wouldn’t get the chance to hold my boy alive. We’re very lucky as he pulled through at the last minute. He’s more than fine now, but this still haunts me. It’s the worst last chance I ever had to imagine.
As a granddaughter I’m sad that my husband never met my Nana. She got sick not long after Joel and I started seeing each other. Sadly she died 2 weeks later, so I never got the chance. If the odds had been stacked a little differently, she would have welcomed him with loving arms and adored our boys. She’d have been an awesome Great-Nana.
As a daughter in law I’ve wished many times that my boys had been able to meet their Grandad. Nearly 14 years on I still regret that distance mattered. That 5-6 hours in a car was so far for us then, so he only got to hold Eldest once. How I’ve wish he could see how immense both our boys are and that we’d see him fill with love and pride. He’d have got to play his pranks on them and taken them on many spontaneous adventures, I’m sure.
As a wife with an incurable brain disease, I’ve seen my husband’s face as I go down for brain surgery. Surgery with a likelihood that it’s fine, but no mistaking the less than 1 in 10,000 chance of a stroke or worse. I see that last forlorn glance as our eyes meet when I leave the ward. Then I see the relief when they wheel me back.
Last Chance Decisions
When I was first diagnosed I knew one thing was never going to change. I knew that Joel was always going to be there for me as I knew our love was unconditional. I knew how strong our relationship was from when we nearly lost Youngest.
As my condition got worse, I realised that I was grieving for the last chances to live the old Laura’s life. I gave up for a while and it got messy at times, but Joel put mine and the boys needs first, much more than I could have comprehended at the time.
I can’t even contemplate what he’s been through when I was so ill. I began to realise how many opportunities had been taken away. I pushed my body but I soon learned I needed to listen to my body.
Balancing Needs and Wants
When I finally realised I needed to create balance we could begin to understand our new normal, but still be The McKees. I still wanted to do more but I couldn’t ignore the needs of my family. As I can’t plan for how I’m going to feel,
On a better day we make the most of it but then spending days in bed to recover. We take it day by day and grab every opportunity we can. I’ve realised that we can only control what’s happening, right now!
Living for Now
There’s myriad opportunities to take a chance every day. I wonder how many we miss and how many might be seen as successes, or if it’s as Thomas Edison said..
I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
Imagine all those missed opportunities because we think there’s more time. Time to grab chances for us or to show kindness to others. We never know a situation, so little thing we do, may make their day.
Affirmations encourage us to grasp opportunities as they arise. It helps us live for the moment and grasp last chances experiences. One such as ‘I let go of fear and guilt’ help me restrain the little guilt demons that haunt me!
When it comes to the future, if I use the ‘I am courageous’ affirmation, I know that everything is going to be okay. If I say ‘I surround myself with positive people’ I know Joel will be there for me if I need him.
I’d love you to experience the freedom and comfort these cards bring, so you can grab the set of positive affirmations that I’ve made for you. They’re only available until March 31st and I’ve put the link at the end of this blog post.
Taking a Chance on Me
Joel finished his degree a year before me and that left him having a huge decision to make. He had to base it on the 7-8 months we’d had. Thankfully Joel decided to stay in Canterbury working in a supermarket for the year.
I didn’t realise how much commitment he was making at the time and I wonder what would have happened if hadn’t taken that gamble on us. We moved to Sussex and our level of commitment stepped up a notch when we bought our first flat.
One day we were talking about the future and he just said ‘shall we get married then?’ I seriously thought he was joking but he wasn’t, so I agreed. It wasn’t planned so that there was just a thought in Joel’s mind and he ran with it was part of the magic.
We married in August 2003 and still balance each other perfectly. He has encouraged me to take more chances and I’ve helped him be more focused and plan more.
Unconditional love is a powerful term, meaning love and affection without limitations; when you’d do anything for that person no matter what. This is usually between parent and child and is the sentiment behind marriage vows; a promise to love no matter what.
Unconditional love is something you have to work at and develops over time, rather than the ideal of love at first sight – sorry romanticals. You shouldn’t ever feel like you’ve failed if a relationship doesn’t work and is never a reason to stay in an unhealthy relationship.
“It is a minute-by-minute decision by both parties to remain committed to each other… Love is expressed by a person’s actions… [and] best expressed when a person chooses to put another’s needs above her own.”
Everyday Health Article
These points are based on my experience of 21 years of very few arguments, raising 2 boys who usually handle disagreements with respect and empathy and 15 years as a Teacher. We take opportunities to show unconditional love. These are my own opinions and ideas. * However, If you feel you need relationship support, please seek professional advice.
- Never go to bed on an argument. If an argument is over something small, take 5 and consider whether it’s worth wasting time. It could take just one of you to back down first, especially if you’re the parent. You may feel wronged but apologising for how you reacted is likely to dissolve the tension. If it’s more serious with your partner, you may not feel ready to make up but be honest and say ‘I’m not ready to talk about this tonight.’ Try to plan time to talk properly in the morning. Then say good night. If it’s with your child/ren, tell them you love them but you don’t like what they’ve done. This needs to be made age appropriate but try to make as little drama as possible and say goodnight as usual. You can reinforce it in the morning. When you talk about it, be specific and don’t attack. Try this structure: ‘I didn’t like it when (action) because it made me feel (_). It was because (obstacle) I’d prefer it if (ideal solution). Teach your kids this too so you can all make up quicker!
Build your relationship on trust, honesty and respect. In any relationship you learn how to deal with conflict. This TED article (although about the workplace, it has six great tips). Positive language and actions are important to acknowledge. Reward positive actions with a note or a little treat for adults as well as kids. If you show you’re noticing the small stuff, it makes the big stuff easier and you’ll build layers of trust. Be aware of how you bring up issues within the family. It’s vital that any problems are addressed quickly and honestly. Use the structure in #1 regularly so it becomes normal. Embrace vulnerability so hearing what others say becomes much easier. Creating an environment where listening is valued is so important for building respect. When you know that what you say matters, you will become more confident and positive. When you become positive, you will inspire positivity. The cycle of positivity, reward, positivity begins!
- Put their needs above yours. When you decide to share your life with another human, you’re making a commitment to meet their needs. You’re there to grow together in any form of relationship. As adults our emotional and physical needs can be met too by cooking a nice meal or taking them on a surprise holiday! The point is, is that you think about your partner, so my fellow bed livers, we can meet our partner’s and children’s needs from our sick beds by asking about their day. If you’ve got a busy life, don’t let this get lost in life noise, don’t take your relationship for granted. We’re all different so some of us need extra support to do this, but if you meet their needs they’re more likely to reciprocate. It may be something to discuss in your relationship. If one person in the relationship becomes dependant due to illness or disability then this can create strain, but you can still meet your partners needs, you just need to think it through. If you have young carers, meeting their needs can be a worry, but be reassured that you can still do this. If you want some tips, read more here.
- Be Affectionate with each other. With children it’s easy, they’re usually pretty affectionate unless their teenagers, although we still give ours a kiss goodnight. (boom, down with their street cred😜). It’s really important to make the effort in our adult relationships because “forms of physical affection…were strongly related to the…satisfaction the participant felt with the relationship and the partner.” Psychology Today We’ve found that establishing affection at any transition, such as waking up or getting home, we’ve become more affectionate and it deepens our connection (yes still, after 21 years). Those hugs and kisses build positivity and happiness. Although some find public affection difficult, I think it’s important in a relationship; especially around your teenage children! We’ve always loved to hold hands in public (although trickier in a wheelchair). “Affection produces feelings of intimacy, security, significance, and respect in a relationship.” Everyday Health
- Show them how much you love them.
They say that actions speak louder than words! So show you how much you love them by getting creative. Whatever works for your kids: show your love by slipping a note in their lunchbox, sitting playing Lego for hours, leaving notes on the fridge and snuggling in front of a movie. With your partner, focus on them regularly to keep a healthy relationship: giving a foot rub, sending texts during the day, writing poems or creating art from photographs!or organising a date night. And don’t forget to always listen to them! Make what you do romantic and do it at least once a week. Just don’t be repetitive. Or creepy. Or boring. Or immature. Or creepy….
In my opinion, if you wait to do the things you love, you may just miss that chance. Bucket lists and waiting for another day may mean that you missed your chance. If you ever missed that opportunity to show your love and something happened, well….
If you’re reading this with a chronic illness, then this can be even tougher for you to think about. I’ve tried both waiting and pushing through, but in the end I’m up for taking a chance.
Someone took a chance on me and we’ve built conditional love for each other and our boys, of course. But we’ve had many tough times and we’ve been lucky enough to make it through. I hope someone has or will take a chance on you.
I make sure my children know how much I love them every day. I make sure to kiss my husband every time he leaves the house and when he gets home.
Don’t wait to do anything, show you love your someone at every opportunity and don’t sweat the small stuff. We never know what’s about to happen…
You can help yourself achieve the things you want to do today using Affirmations. I’ve mentioned these above. I’ve created a set of Printable Affirmations that would for setting the tone for a good day Grab a copy of this when you sign up to my occasionally regular newsletter today! You still have until the 31st March to get your free printable.
I make sure my children know how much I love them everyday. I make sure to kiss my husband every time he leaves to go to work and as soon as he gets home.
My point is – Don’t wait to do anything, show you love someone at every opportunity and don’t sweat the small stuff. We never know what’s about to happen! So, if you start living for now, today, then what would you choose as the first thing you’d do?