“I felt the arrow from death’s fatal quiver, come so close it actually grazed me. I bled the blood and I felt the cold shiver. God only knows how He saved me. There’s two dates of time that they’ll carve on your stone, everyone knows what they mean. What’s more important is the time that is known in that little dash there in between.” –Garth Brooks
“All I wanted to do today was put up the Christmas tree,” I thought as I was lying waiting for the surgery I hadn’t known I’d needed an hour before. Many seemingly random thoughts passed through my head in the 20 minutes I had from the time I found out I needed surgery until the time I was under via anesthetic. “All I wanted to do was put up the Christmas tree…I never finished my book…my husband doesn’t know how our daughter likes her toast…she won’t even remember me.”
In movies, people facing death always have brilliant things to say. Things that usually make those around them feel better. At the time I waited for my surgery, I didn’t really know how close to death I was, unless only subconsciously. But I have a sister with Cerebral Palsy, and I know how long surgeries usually take to schedule. I knew enough of what “you’re having surgery in 20 minutes” could mean.
But I didn’t have anything wise, or lovely, or even clever to say to my husband as he sat by my hospital bed. I didn’t tell him he was a good dad or even that I loved him, although I thought them both. No, all I could get out in that crucial moment was, “I’m scared.”
He gave me a blessing. I know it was the only thing that calmed my nerves. I am so grateful that he was able to live his life in the way that he was worthy and able to do it.
It was at a post op appointment a few days after my surgery that I really found out how close I was to not being on earth anymore. It was then that I found out that I had already lost about a liter of blood internally and that if I’d waited a couple more hours to come in, it would have been too late.
Its a strange feeling knowing that your life could have ended so suddenly. I was 26 years old at the time. I had been married 4 years and had a 2 year old daughter. The week before my surgery we had taken a trip with extended family to Florida. I had gotten upset with my husband the last day of the trip for a silly little reason, and I wasted precious moments on a family trip that may have been my last.
Sometimes when I look through our family albums, I am overcome by the amount of pictures that are past that day in November. So many things I would’ve missed if my time had been done. My daughter starting kindergarten, her first school play, nieces and nephews being born, learning about the 50 states with my sister, going to the temple with my husband for our fifth anniversary, when my daughter’s pet fish died.
It is easy to forget how fleeting life can be. It’s only been four years since mine nearly ended, and already the every dayness of life makes me forget how precious it is at times. But you can’t think about life ending all the time, either, because that is no way to live. I guess the point I’m trying to make is: live. Tell your husband he is a good dad, and that you love him. Make as many memories for your kids as you can. Finish your book. Because you never know when you’ll run out of time.
I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the knowledge that even if my life had ended that day, I still would’ve been with my husband and daughter again. And I am so thankful for the gift He gave me of extra time with them here.