Celebrating the purpose of life while living with pulmonary fibrosis

The importance of recognizing our specific aims and working to fulfill them

Ann Reynoso avatar

by Ann Reynoso |

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I always try to find meaning and purpose in the smallest of things, and that practice led me to a realization the other weekend. I was trying to nurse back to health one of our hens, which had become ill in the past month. We did everything we could to bring life back into her. Unfortunately, she was too ill and exhausted to fight anymore. She died in my arms.

While I was holding her, I looked down at her closed eyes and started thinking about her purpose in life. What purpose did she serve? It became clear to me that all living things have a purpose. Hers was to provide us with food and nutrition. I wanted to honor this purpose, so we decided to give her a proper burial and give thanks for her purposeful life.

Purpose in life

A lot goes into living before death, and for each person, that experience is different. I’ve always wondered, “What purpose do I serve?” Is it to learn about everything I can in my lifetime, or to use my time to help others? Or am I one of many voices needing to speak out about my experiences with pulmonary fibrosis (PF)?

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I don’t want my illness to be just about me. I want it to be about so much more. It’s about those who support me. It’s about my family, friends, and medical team.

I want to be seen. Just like in the “Avatar” movies, I want to be told, “I see you.” I may not be able to walk or run as fast as others, but I still want to join in. I may get winded easily while talking, but I still have something to say.

Maybe my purpose is to show others how to have compassion, to not forget that those of us with a rare or chronic illness are still here. Until my time to grace this world with my presence is over, I hope to make people feel comfortable and at ease about rare illnesses and the unknowns that go with them.

I recently asked my friend and fellow columnist Jen Cueva, who writes “Worth the PHight” for Pulmonary Hypertension News, to share her thoughts on her purpose in life. Her answer made me feel that we’re kindred spirits.

When she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH), she knew it meant moving forward and building awareness in rare disease communities. Like me, she wants to use her platform to bring visibility, education, and awareness to rare diseases, including PH and PF. One of her important missions is to make sure no one feels alone or helpless when dealing with a medical condition.

We all, whether we have a rare illness or not, have a purpose in life. We just need to discover what that is. I’d like to know, when others remember me, that I’ve done everything I could to benefit others who need support.

Celebration of life: Día de los Muertos

Dying is an uncomfortable subject to address. Most of us think about death as a painful and prolonged process that spurs thoughts of the unknown. What happens after we’ve passed on? What will happen to my family when I’m gone?

I used to fear jinxing myself by talking about death, but once I was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, I began to feel it was time to face the possibility of leaving behind those I love. I’ve accepted this realization. Because of that, I want to make sure that I’ve fulfilled my purpose in life in every way that I can. I want to provide kindness, joy, and bliss to everyone around me. Only then will I be at peace when my time ceases to exist.

Death should not be feared. It should be celebrated. We shouldn’t think about that person dying too young or not being able to have a full life; instead, they should be celebrated for all they’ve accomplished. I want a celebration of life, known in my culture as Día de los Muertos. I want to be celebrated with song and cheerfulness. I want my family to remember that because of them, my life’s purpose has been achieved.

Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.


Marilyn avatar


I like yourself have boldly stepped in to my purpose of Advocating Prolonged Life Choices!!! I have glad I read your post! It affirmed that seeking GOD through love while we’re still here; is the highest purpose there is and one that for some realize early on in life!
So I CHOOSE LIFE And I truly believe a reversal CURE IS NEAR AND I WILL NOT DIE, instead I WILL live and tell what the LORD has done!!


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