Close Calls and Perennials

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This time of year always gets me right in the feels. If you know me, I hate being cold, and there’s nothing I love more than sunshine and the sweet smell of blossoms blooming in the orchards nearby (so sorry to those who have allergies). One of my favorite things to do is tromp on down to Home Depot and load my basket with flowers (and succulents) to beautify my little patio. I usually attempt a tiny tomato garden but have relinquished that planter to my daughter who has become a succulent specialist with an eye for whimsical and imaginative arrangements. I will dearly miss my three home-grown tomatoes, though.

This year, I have an extra special reason to get emotional when I see all that spring has to offer. My husband is here. I nearly lost him one year ago on April 17th.

I was at work and got an overhead page that I had a phone-call, something that never happens. Usually my family waits until I’m on break to ask me a question. I knew something was wrong.

I picked up the phone and heard my daughter’s rattled voice. “Mom, you need to leave work. Dad’s having chest pain and we’re at the hospital.”

All I remember was grabbing my purse and running through the store, out the door, and to my car. All the while praying “don’t die, don’t die.” I don’t even remember the drive to the hospital, only my thoughts.

My husband was a fourth-degree black belt. He worked out, had a vigorous job, his weight was right on target, he was only 47 years old! How could this be happening? I’ll tell you how. Cigarettes and stress. And quite possibly chocolate (and beef but he won’t admit it). Maybe heredity too.

Luckily, by the time I arrived at the hospital, he’d already been taken back. My daughter (and somebody else, my memory is spotty) ushered me to his room. There were people all around him, lines hooked up to this and that, he was bare-chested and bright red. He was writhing in pain—and that scared the bejesus outta me. He’s usually one tough cookie. Unless he has a cold…

I tried to calm him down. “Babe, I’m here,” I said, caressing his arm and saying something completely out of the realm of a thing you’d say to a man having a heart attack. “You look sexy.” I declared. But he didn’t see the humor.

This is where it gets nuts. The nurses swooped in and wheeled him away, leaving me standing there with my girls. They had to clear that widow-maker now.

The waiting game sucks, doesn’t it? I mean, nine people staring at the walls and each other—the hands of time couldn’t slog along any slower. But these people are the breath of my body! And their support means everything to me. (thanks again, guys, so much) And when those big double-doors finally swung open and the doctor stood there like a statue saying “come with me, please” stone faced and somber, it was like walking the green mile to a slow and painful death-by-oh-my-God-this-hall-is-long. But he had good news for us. He was able to clear that nasty 100% blockage and put in a stint, thank God, with minimal damage to the heart.

So here’s the moral of the story. Quit smoking now. Eat right, exercise, and you know the rest. Most importantly, love your family with all you have. And if you choose to not do what’s good for your body and mind, make the most of your life and leave a beautiful mark on this world. It’s not perfect, but it’s all we have. I choose to leave a legacy of kindness and glitter and lots and lots of color and laughter. Be a flower in a sea of thorns.

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