The beginning of the New Year 1999 flickers in my memory like red hot flames dancing silently on a
nearly burnt out log in the fireplace. The flames rise high at one moment and sink to almost nothing the
next with variable speeds as they slowly serve the purpose for which they are intended, to provide
warmth, comfort and beauty to their surroundings. At that time, January 1999, my life took a sudden
twist in direction and like those flames, I experienced many highs and lows. I went from a state of
freedom to dance with life to being placed in a hospital for several months to face the possibility of
death. During that time, I was challenged to experience a totally new world inside the walls of hospitals
and give of myself to help others who were also facing sickness and death. Almost from the first day in
the hospital, I adopted the attitude that this was a journey I had to take as part of a master plan for my
life. I was humbled. To be humbled does not necessarily mean that a person is weak but can be quite
the opposite. It can result in an awareness of inner strength. I believe that it is in humbling ourselves
that we connect with our inner being. We must first lose ourselves to find ourselves. I believe God
humbled me by placing me in this situation to gain the knowledge, courage and inner strength that
would be necessary for me to take action towards his plan for my life.
It was while dealing with this traumatic experience, I was inspired to write this book. This journey has
opened up a whole new course of direction for me and has placed me in a new phase of existence. This
book tells about my journey from beginning to end and reveals my personal thoughts, feelings and
responses through its various phases.
While many people would accept such an experience with a ''why me'' attitude, I accepted it as a ''why
not me''. I felt it was an experience I could use to positively affect other peoples' lives. It is my desire
that this story will inspire others who are facing adversity or who may be dealing with family, loved
ones or friends who are going through a crisis. Each day, we are all given a special gift. We are given
the gift of life. While there is life, there is hope. No matter what the outcome of our circumstances, even
if it is death, we can still have a dramatic influence on others by adopting a positive attitude and
displaying courage and love.
I have been given a second chance at life. If I were to allow this experience to fade away into the past
as just another memory, I would be doing a great injustice to human kind. It is my belief that this story
needs to be shared to give belief and inspiration to others. Through this personal story, I give back to
you just a small part of what was given to me, increased faith, abundant hope, unconditional love and
the intense determination to live life to the fullest.
Grace C. Stockley
About the Author