A Season of Gratitude – A Season of Giving.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beatty

I always think of November as gratitude month, as it flows backwards from Thanksgiving.  I always think of December as The Season For Giving, as it too flows backwards – from Christmas.  We have all been given so much — every day, a new beginning.  A great country to live in.  Friends and family.  We really truly are blessed.

And this brings me to telling you a little about a person who is / was very important to me, and to whom I give credit for helping re-boot my life during a couple times where my wheels, ostensibly, had fallen off.  Not to be dramatic about it, but just that I am a guy who has always been active, relatively fit, very outdoorsy, and there was a point at which I had truly lost my Mojo.

Dr. Christine Gustafson, who recently and suddenly passed away, was my doctor.  She practiced functional / integrative medicine.  She was an expert in biochemistry. She knew supplements, bio-identicals, meditation, acupuncture and was extremely available, caring, compassionate, practical and a force to be reckoned with.  It was she who wholly revamped my regimen.  It was she who said, “I want you to start running again.  You’re already hiking 7 miles a day, why don’t you run for one minute, then walk for a minute…”

Some credit is also due to Christine Curtin of Outdoor Fit! (http://outdoorfit.net) in Roswell, who I worked with for boot camp training to strengthen and improve my plyometrics… And before that Liza Hughes (http://lizahughes.com) who I worked with as a personal trainer before moving to Georgia.

But it was Dr. G. who made what felt like a struggle back into the fun it used to be.

Not a week before she passed away, she told me of a couple things that were troubling her.  We had that sort of friendship on top of a professional relationship.  The day after we spoke, I was getting out of my car at Riverside Park in Roswell for a nice long run and I spotted this, as clear as anything could be:  A 4 leafed clover.  She and I shared a proclivity for finding these without looking, and the story of me and of 4 leafed clovers goes like this… My grandfather, Otto Klausmeyer, told me once, that finding a 4 leafed clover is just God’s way of winking at us..  The point here is… I took that 4 leafed clover home, attached it to a card along with a note that said “Dear Dr. G.  I believe this may be yours.  That and thank you sincerely for everything you have done for me.  I appreciate you. Love ~bk”

The following Friday I got a call from her nurse, Linda, telling me the sad news.  I admit that I struggled with her loss.  I was sad, but mostly I realized all she’d done for me and others, and that I already missed her.  There were health concerns too, because I had never known anyone with as much knowledge – to the point it truly bordered on ‘magic’.  There was no hope of replacing her.

But that’s not where the story ends.

Her associate in the practice, along with a pair of other doc’s and Linda, have been able to keep the practice open.  At this point, allow me the courtesy of further expressing my joy and gratitude because I now have a doctor, practicing the same brand of functional medicine, in the same location, with the same staff.  Her name is Elizabeth Board, MD.  The Practice name is Atlanta Functional Medicine.  Though we can never replace Dr. G. and none of us hope to, we can certainly create a new relationship, a new beginning, and be grateful for the intersection we share.

I think I will stop here for now, except to give some credit to 2 people… First, @dudleydoo on Twitter, for helping me sort thru what felt like like a writer’s cramp… And to Kelli McMullen for showing up with some really great, timely meditation, motivation, and open heartedness.  When I am writing, it means I feel safe enough to share…

Feel Good.  Do Good. Have fun. Be fun.

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