As life becomes harder and more threatening, it also becomes richer, because the fewer expectations we have, the more good things of life become unexpected gifts that we accept with gratitude. ~ Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life

Like most Americans and many others in the world, September 11th stirs up painful memories. This event changed many of us, and for a brief time, we were more charitable with each other. As a person with hepatitis C, I live with a smaller-scale devastation. Like the events of September 11th, hepatitis C constantly reminds me of how capricious life is, and I use this virus to remind me to be more caring and open-hearted.

It can feel overwhelming, living with a virus that steals body and brain. Fatigue and brain fog are near constant companions, but so is gratitude. Hepatitis C and gratitude are forever linked because without this virus, I would likely take life for granted.

On this anniversary, identify those things for which you are most grateful. Keep in mind that others around you may be feeling vulnerable from the disturbing memories planted on September 11th. This is a good day to be kinder, more generous, and more compassionate. It is also a good day to forget about hepatitis C and instead, honor being fully human.