I saw a lot of comments about Friday the 13th this past Friday. I don't usually have a problem with that date. My "bad" luck tends to kick in the week before. Flashback time: Thursday January 5, 1995. My oldest was my only child, 19 months old. I was having trouble with my asthma all that day. I tend to have breathing problems as my own form of PMS. We had gone out to the juggling club that evening, but left early because I wasn't feeling well and went to pick up Marina at my parents' house. My mother had an oil base candle going for my daughter, and the candle started tightening my breath. I knew I was in trouble when my father asked if I needed to go to the emergency room. He was always the one who insisted I would feel better if my mother just let me be.
My dh and my dad drove me to the hospital while my mom and sister stayed with Marina. My husband, not used to asthma attacks, stopped at every light. When we got there, I watched my father trying to enter through the wrong door and wanted desperately to yell out to him, but instead I went into convulsions and passed out. I remember hearing the voice of a dear friend who had died of cancer the same year Marina was born. He kept asking me questions and I remember answering, although I don't remember what he asked. Finally, I said "I'm not ready," at which point I opened my eyes to find a tube down my throat. I have no memory of how I got from the car to the bed.
Of course, my first concern was Marina. I was still nursing her, and as I finally conveyed this to the doctors, they shook off my concern, insisting I wouldn't be nursing her after this.(I did. Thank you La Leche League.) Anyway, after they put me in a room, the doctor talked with my dh, telling him one lung had collapsed and my heart had stopped, so I had technically died for a couple of minutes (my first thought: I died? Cool!). As a testament to my strength of will, I was out of the hospital in 3 days. I developed a unique perspective from this experience. While my dh and father were with me in the emergency room, someone stole our bags from our car, which had all our juggling gear (we were street performers back then). Before, this would have devastated and angered me. Now, I shrugged it off with "Oh well, they can be replaced."
Ever since that day, I become somewhat maudlin from time to time. Last week, I again had some breathing problems from a combination of the flip flopping weather, PMS and stress. I started thinking back to that day and wondering if there is something more I should be doing. It's difficult to explain these feelings to someone who hasn't had a similar experience. I've found that my family and friends are uncomfortable talking about this memory with me. I know it frightens my family that they almost lost me. I start feeling like they think I'm either morbid or nuts. But my spirituality and philosophy have been shaped by that night, so I can't deny that part of myself. I know I am blessed to have a second chance, to have two more kids, family and friends I cherish, a home. I am very thankful for every breath that fills my lungs with life. This became one of the events that made me decide to homeschool. They're young for such a short period of time, and who knows how much of that time you get to share with them? Even though it's not always easy, I'm glad I homeschool. And every year on 3 Kings' Day (Epiphany--January 6) for the last 11(!) years, I quietly, prayerfully celebrate my second birthday.