I overheard someone saying "how brave Elaine is", and I was stunned at her remark and felt somewhat embarrassed. I have never seen myself as "brave"; simply practical, optimistic, hopefully encouraging others through my determination and strength of spirit to lead the best possible life they can despite suffering chronic disease. Bravery to me is something very different.
A fire-fighter who rescues people from a burning building and certain death, is not phased by the personal danger he faces. Engulfed in flames, his sole mission to fearlessly rescue whoever is trapped inside and come out alive. Ambulance teams who arrive on the scene of an emergency, go straight into action, despite the horrifying circumstances they may meet. Without hesitation they get to work quickly administering to the injured and taking them safely to the nearest hospital. A surgeon who has been operating for hours and suddenly faced with a patient experiencing serious complications; has to think carefully but quickly, for someone's life is in his hands. Every decision he makes is crucial. These people are most definitely brave.
But there are different types of bravery; one form that may not sound quite so dramatic, and doesn't make the headlines in the news, but requires in my mind, long term commitment and unconditional love, is to stay the course and take care of someone. Being a caregiver who unselfishly gives of themselves every day without a second thought, is indeed brave in my eyes. So to all you caregivers out there - your bravery doesn't go unnoticed - you are acknowledged and very much appreciated.