Moments that Make Us Grateful

There’s  nothing like a health scare to make you live with more intention. I had that experience recently. 
During spring break, my family traveled to Cuba. On our way back from this trip, we had a layover in the Mexico City airport. We had been up since 2:30 am to catch an early flight from Havana. Tired and badly needing coffee, I ordered a mocha from a well-known American coffee restaurant…after all, that’s safe when traveling, right?  I shared the drink with my daughter, who commented that the drink tasted strange. I agreed, but was so tired that I forged ahead believing that they just made the drink differently there.  About 24 hours later, my daughter and I began to feel the effects of that drink. 
After two visits to the ER, they determined that we had contracted a bacteria in our system…and the culprit was something in that drink. I was laid flat, barely able to eat or drink for a week. I took antibiotics to get better and it seemed to gradually kick in.  It was almost two weeks later that I was finally feeling back to normal, when I woke up suddenly sick and lost a lot of blood quickly. In a blur, my husband and daughter tried to walk me out of my bedroom to take me to the ER, but I collapsed unconscious to the floor twice. A call was made to 911 and an ambulance came to get me. 
By the time I was wheeled out of the house, I was fully conscious. This is what I clearly remember thinking—”I’m not ready to die; there’s too much I want to do.”  It was a scary thought that I would never return to my home and it brought back thoughts of my own dad who only wished to go home when he was dying.  At the hospital, the doctors ran tests and mentioned a few life threatening problems that could be the culprit, but no one had an answer for what was wrong with me. 
When I went home the following day—with still no answers—I was so grateful…grateful to see my daughters, husband, dogs, and work. Yes, I said work.  Along with all the other things I’ve mentioned, my work brings purpose to my life. I love working with various fabrics and chairs. I’ve challenged myself by designing fabrics and looks for my new chair line that I launched this past summer. Slowly I’ve been finding my voice with my social media posts. I’m not only producing chairs, but I also feel the call to uplift others.  If there’s something I can share that will help and encourage others, I want to do that.  If I can design a set of chairs for someone who needs some happiness in their day-to-day life, I want to be the one to do that.  Life is hard at times, and there’s so much loss around us. In fact, loss is a part of life. We can’t escape it. If my work can bring a lightness to anyone, I want to do that.

This experience has shown me that my job is more than just designing chairs.  And the good news is that, today, I’m ok. Today, right now is all we have. Let’s make the most of it, shall we?


I'm Wendy Conklin, The Chair Stylist.

What brings me joy is helping others live more creatively. I design antique-inspired, boutique chairs, and I teach others how to do what I do. Check out my shop, services, and courses to bring more whimsy into your home and life!

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