Saturday, January 5, 2008

Remembering my Second Chance

The children are preparing for a visit from the Three Kings tonight, with water and grass for their camels, and a celebration of "Little Christmas" in the morning. I am sitting here in gratitude for the 13 extra years I have had and celebrating my "Little Birthday." I have so much to be thankful for. The opportunity to see my oldest growing into a young woman, the chance to add two more children to our home, and the added time to be with my loving husband. I am a lucky woman, and I'm never going to forget that. My life has been gifted with such wonderful blessings. Below is an excerpt from my original post, My Own Epiphany, slightly edited (the writer in me can't let it alone).

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 lit for my daughter to look at, and the candle started tightening my breath. I asked them to blow it out, but that just made things worse. 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 husband 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 began to panic as I watched my father trying to enter through the wrong door. I 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 Billy, 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 hospital 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 husband, 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 hubby 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, saying "Oh well, they can be replaced."

Ever since that day, I become somewhat maudlin from time to time. I start 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 13(!) years, I quietly, prayerfully celebrate my second birthday.

This year, I have even more to be thankful for. All of my blogger friends, who have followed my homeschooling adventures and encouraged me to continue writing my comics. I do them because they make me laugh at all of the craziness in my life, but also because they make you laugh. May God bless all of you who have taken the time to visit my blog and laugh with me.

Peace, my friends, and Laughter!


appleleaf said...

Yes, I remember reading this when you first shared it. No wonder you celebrate each anniversary of this epiphany as a bonus year when you had such a close shave then. I'd imagine that it gives you the feeling of being protected by a higher power.
Looking forward to another year of your homeschool moments,

Inner Elder said...

I too will never forget that night and never stop thanking God for giving you back to me.

Love, Mom

Maryellen said...

I read this account when I first found your blog early December. I enjoyed it then and I enjoyed it again today. I can only imagine what it might be like to get a second chance like that. Glory to God.

I'm following your Mom's blogs now, too and enjoying them.

Spinneretta said...

It is a lovely thing to remember at the beginning of a new year... that second chance.
I am glad you are here... your comics have inspired me to pick my pencil back up and draw again :) For THAT, I will thank you!

Anonymous said...

I thank the Lord for selfesh reasons. What would I have done without you in my life?? You've been an incredible friend. One I dearly needed. So I'm going to count YOU as one of the best gifts I ever received.

Peace and Laughter!
And thanks for sticking around you determined girl you!

Love ya!

Amy said...

While I've only just recently started reading your blog, I am so glad you were given that second chance! :)

Purpleflowerpatch said...

Powerful epiphany experience....totally life changing!
I got that 'chance', and I say chance because it made me a better mother, wife, friend, person (KWIM?), a few months back when the doctors were convinced I had a brain tumour. Having to contend with my mortality made me realise two very important things - 1) I was not afraid, I had complete peace that I was going to meet Jesus; and 2) my heart ached for the pain and grief my family would experience if I died so young and I KNEW that from now on every moment with then needed to be seen through these new eyes of understanding.
Thank you for becoming my friend - you are a great gift to this Australian gal! May I never forget to let you know how much difference you make in this world. Thank you Lord for saving Cristina.

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