Posted by: paulbassler | August 5, 2013

The Miracle of Life

The Miracle of Life

Five years ago I was walking down the streets of Manila in the Philippines, overwhelmed by my thoughts and fears. As the vehicles raced by, the noises and smells of the city bombarding my senses, my thoughts and emotions were surreal, as I could not move my attention away from my wife who was battling for her life in the hospital a few blocks away. She had suffered a burst brain aneurysm and was undergoing brain surgery to tie off the aneurysm and remove the blood in her brain. At that time, I could not imagine what was going to happen in the days ahead, let alone what life would be like five years in the future.
The evolution of our lives between then and now has been an incredible journey. The fear and trepidation I felt then has transformed to astonishment and gratitude. I am so grateful that my wife survived, and grateful to all those who contributed to her recovery. From the surgeon who saved her life to the nurses and therapists who helped her, and me, return to a life of semi-normalcy. I say semi-normalcy because our current life is nothing like what we anticipated it would be before my wife’s stroke changed everything forever.
My feelings of astonishment have risen from what the universe has done to help my wife deal with her disabilities. Though her surgeon warned that she may suffer from depression, as the stroke left her paralyzed on the right side of her body and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life, the universe chose a different path. Instead of depression and self pity, my wife is happy and grateful for every waking moment. In addition to the physical disabilities, the stroke created some brain damage that impacted her ability to articulate her thoughts, have easy access to her memories or project future events. That said, her consciousness is somewhat childlike, as she lives in the moment without fear of the future or concern with the past. She can access her memories, but only does so when asked to. When asked about a past event, such as the day we met, the birth of our children, trips we have taken in our lives, she can remember in great detail. But unlike most of us, she doesn’t speak of the past in the course of daily life. As for the future, she can remember plans that we make and she looks forward in grand anticipation for those plans to be implemented. Again, unlike the rest of us, she has no fear of what tomorrow may hold and gives it little or no thought each day. She lives in the now and is very observant of everything that is around her.
Being a full time caregiver has been a challenge for me without doubt. But she has made this challenge easy to face, as she is a constant reminder to me to live in the moment and be grateful for the miracle that is life. The universe has gifted my wife with a view of life that is filled with optimism, gratitude, amazement, enjoyment, happiness and love. In turn, the universe has provided me with these treasures through the love I have for my wife.
I am a firm believer that we are the creators of our own realities, and five years ago I could not see why we were creating such a traumatic event. Today our creativity is much clearer. So many of the things we thought were important in the past are no longer matters of concern. Our faith in a universe that knows what it’s doing is stronger than ever, and our fear of the unknown has been greatly diminished. Planning for the future seems less imperative, as the future does not exist outside the now. Today we are both grateful. We are grateful that we live, grateful we are still together and grateful that the universe is such a wondrous miracle. After living through this life experience, I am more certain than ever that there is purpose behind every challenge and a positive outcome to every grievous event. I am so grateful to my wife for sacrificing her physical freedom to show us the miracle of life. Whenever I feel a need to complain about anything in my life, I only have to look at her and I am reminded not to sweat the little things. She is always smiling, always feeling “fabulous,” always happy to be alive. Could any one of us ask for more?



  1. What a brave and wonderful post, Paul. You and your wife are truly inspirational.
    I understand exactly what you mean about her living in the now. I’ve been shown this way of being by two people very dear to me over the last few years – my mother who had advanced dementia and my tiny grandson. Both lived/live entirely in the present, and with such intensity. It is a great gift.

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