These were the words I whispered to Susanne late Sunday afternoon as my body convulsed uncontrollably. I could see, hear, and comprehend all that was going on around me, but was unable to control any of my motor functions. I was trapped in my own body.
There were other words I wanted to say – “I love you”, “I will miss you”, but I was unable to form them, I was unable to get them out and the only thing I was able to muster was to tell her that this was indeed death for me.
My mind was fully there, but my body was gone, unable to speak clearly, unable to control my legs, arms, head, and eyes. I did little more than slump with sporadic seizures while Susanne held me on our couch, reassuring me that she loved me more than anything and that I was going to be ok.
I was dying.
The room grew dark, I could not hear anything or anyone around me, except the whisper of Susanne’s voice in my ear that she loved me while she too realized that I was dying.
At that moment I was not scared, I was not frightened. I was pissed that I was going to die at 48 years old with so much life still to live. I was also abundantly sad. I was deeply grieved that I would miss out on so much life – my life with Susanne and all of our future plans, enjoying the relationships with my adult children, future travels, grandkids, etc. So much promise and joy that I would not get a chance to be a part of and I could not overcome the sadness of thinking that I would not be here for it.
After a few hours in the hospital, numerous IVs, being told I did not have a stroke and my body recovering and regulated, I felt beyond thankful, joyous, and lucky to be able to have a lucid conversation with Susanne and see her gorgeous face. I was moved within my innermost self as what I had just experienced was deeply spiritual, scary as hell, humbling, harrowing, emotional, and exhausting. These are the best words I can use to describe the experience and I do so knowing full well they are lacking in providing an accurate description.
I felt the deepest sense of thankfulness to be alive, to be able to look at the faces of my kids, and to know that I would get another day with them. I was so grateful that I could hear the commands of the nurse to squeeze her fingers and be able to respond in kind.
I have never had an experience close to what happened and never hope to again. To know that those who love you are worried, scared, and to hear them speak about you with paramedics and doctors and ask if you are going to be ok? If you are going to make it?
To know that what you are exhibiting physically, is not at all what you are thinking or processing mentally. To know that when you are crying uncontrollably and not able to tell your loved ones that it is not because you are in pain, but because you are sad and you want just one more minute to say all that is on your heart, to give them one last hug, to kiss them one last time and know you are incapable of doing so is true torment and misery.
I am deeply grateful to be alive. I am glad that I am able to get up in the morning, to have coffee with Susanne, to hug my kids, to laugh, to have control of my body, to work and be at full mental capacity. I am thankful for all that the day brings and that I have had the opportunity to tell those whom I love just how big that love is.
I may never understand all that happened on Sunday afternoon and the hours, which seemed like years, that consumed me and my family. What I do know is that when you believe you are dying, you rifle through a million thoughts about the life you have lived and the relationships that are the most important to you and how grateful you are for them and how you will never take them for granted if you are given one more minute.
I am elated that I get more time, I am so thankful for the loved ones that I have and am intent on getting the most from each and every day as they are filled with joy and beauty if we take simply take the time to find it.