In an alternate world, I have ceased to exist that particular eve of February 23.

The week before recorded the most number of absences I have incurred at work. I had classes I wasn’t able to attend and I have failed to arrange for colleagues to meet these classes.

I may have died with a bunch of doctors hovering over me in that rusty stretcher planted in a corner of the  emergency room together with a pile of used mops. The undoubtful smell spoke of a comfort room nearby.

Perhaps, I may have had a major stroke during that first week in the public hospital ward. I may have had a major seizure during my two-week stint at the intensive care unit. I was considered toxic. Or maybe I may have had a heart failure during the 4-5 weeks at the payward section of the hospital. I could have died in the hospital table from blood loss. My lungs could have remained deflated and I could have died from complication.

Since February, I could have died in a lot of ways. But in this particular world, my mother bought me several more years – and nothing would ever compare to the enormity of the gratitude I have for her – her constant nagging considered.

There’s that pressure to make the next years matter and to make the most of each day. I am more conscious of moments passing and sometimes I have to keep myself from overthinking if I’m making a particular moment matter.

There’s also that balance to be maintained on recovering some form of normalcy and making sure that I do not overexert myself. I still get irritated when people treat me like some tower of sand that’ll crumble with the faintest of winds. I keep reminding myself that it’s their concern I’m getting.

I’m alive. No complaints there. I’m deeply grateful and I’m sure hell-bent on making the next years matter.

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