This simple phrase is one that many of us could recite at a young age. We were taught that it’s kind and courteous to show our appreciation by saying thank you. We were told that giving thanks is a part of this concept of ‘good manners,’ and that by saying thank you we were being polite. What we weren’t told is the true impact saying thank you can have. We weren’t told that these two words can uplift someone and brighten their day when they need it most. We weren’t told that it can remind another person that their efforts are appreciated, and it can encourage that same person to continue those efforts.
This past Sunday the world said goodbye to a very beautiful soul. That person was Kelli, a woman who had PKU. I had the fortunate opportunity to get to know Kelli through a PKU forum several years ago as a young teen. Although we never met in person, that did not stop her from providing as much support as she could during a time when my outlook on PKU was much different than it is today. It didn’t matter how silly or petty my concerns were, she was always willing to listen and had an abundant amount of encouragement to offer. In fact, she was often the one to remind me that these obstacles I was facing would one day be so miniscule in the grand scheme of things that they weren’t worth stressing over. For that I will forever be grateful. I never said thank you though, and I don’t know that she ever knew what a vast impact she truly had on my life.
Obviously I cannot go back in time and say thank you. However, I can thank those who are still in my life. So to my parents thank you for everything. Thank you for giving me a life that many people would die for. Thank you for providing for me, supporting me, and loving me through both the good and the bad. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you! Thank you to my siblings for putting up with me for the past twenty-three years. I know I am insane, but somehow you still love me (er…at least I hope you do LOL). To those who I met all those years ago on PKUboard.info and the PKU group on MSN thank you for shedding light into the mind of a confused teenager. To the more pleasant medical professionals that I have had the privilege to work with thank you for trying to understand me, for being my ‘cheerleaders,’ and for believing in me. It gave me to will power to take charge of my life and do what’s right for myself and my health. And to those doctors and dietitians who were not as supportive thank you as well. You taught me what it means to be strong. You taught me how to advocate for myself and how to get both what I want and need! To all of my PKU friends (both those that I have met in person and those who I have only ever chatted with via the internet) thank you for your friendship and support. I have always been a firm believer that support is the key to successful treatment, and you all have been a testament to that!
If you get the chance today, tell someone thank you. Whether it is someone who was brought into your life by PKU or not they deserve to know they are appreciated. Like I said, saying thank you can have a bigger impact on someone’s life than we realize. If someone has had a positive impact on your life it’s only fitting that you (hopefully) positively impact theirs by expressing your appreciation. You never know if you’ll get another chance to say thank you.
Thank you for reading ;).