Couples inspire others to be thankful

Published 7:45 pm Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Considering how busy most people are nowadays, it’s easy to hustle through life, forgetting all of the simple miracles we experience every day and overlooking our fortunes.

But last week, two couples reminded me how important it is to count your blessings and appreciate everything you have.

On Thursday, I met Bill and Dawn Slaughter, a couple who, after a 17-year courtship, decided to get married last week at Sentara Obici Hospital, where Dawn has been in the Intensive Care Unit since the beginning of the month, suffering from liver failure.

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Even on good days, Dawn is weak and lies in her hospital bed most of the time, but Bill sits right by her side every moment he can.

To make matters worse, this isn’t the first time this year the couple has been in the hospital.

Earlier this year, Dawn broke her hip, and when she got it repaired, she found out she wouldn’t be able to work driving trucks again.

This is when Bill and Dawn’s financial troubles began. Since summer, Bill has struggled to make ends meet for he and his partner of 17 years, but when she entered the hospital, their money issues only worsened.

Despite his many concerns, Bill’s only worry, at the end of the day, is ensuring Dawn gets better.

He said he is willing to lose everything as long as he doesn’t lose her.

The couple showed that undying love in a touching wedding ceremony that took place last Monday with Dawn propped up in her bed and Bill by her side, holding her hand the whole time.

Bill and Dawn’s commitment to each other through thick and thin and his understanding of what’s important in life was inspirational and heart-warming.

I hope they are able to spend many more years together.

The same day, I also met Butch and Lee White, who also have had a tough year.

From the summer of 2010 to now, Lee has overcome a fight with breast cancer — which included a double mastectomy, multiple chemotherapy sessions and several complications— the death of her mother and the loss of her beloved Yorkshire terrier.

To cheer her up, Butch has made a tradition of putting up a ton of Christmas lights, including some that line the grave of their dog.

Through all of her challenges, Lee has kept a positive attitude. She admits it’s been a tough year, but she still feels blessed to be alive and that she was diagnosed with a treatable cancer.

She said she never gets down, because she knows God is blessing her in millions of ways she doesn’t realize.

If a woman who has endured what Lee has endured can stand up and say, “I am so blessed,” everyone should be able to do the same.