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Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Luck and Gratitude

The last four weeks have been nothing short of an emotional roller coaster. It's only been a month since life threw me a whopper of a curve ball, but it feels like two months have gone by. Over the course of these four weeks, I've been doing a lot of thinking all while trying to get my life back to normal. Since February 22nd, I've had five people in need of hospitals (two were precautionary), and two recent deaths, one of which was resuscitated before my own eyes. You've heard the phrase 'truth is stranger than fiction'. Well, I'm standing here to tell you that phrase is damn spot on.


On February 22nd, five minutes after arriving at work, my mother had a cardiac arrest and, literally, dropped dead. My mother and I work at the same company, a company she has worked with for 30 years. With the swift action of our colleague and the Durham Region Emergency Services, she was resuscitated. I watched paramedics perform CPR on my mother and shock her heart into beating again. I lost my mother and got her back all in the same day – all in the course of about ten minutes. To say I was numb for most of the day is a bit of an understatement, but thanks to a pair of friends who have been beyond amazing, I was able to get out to a screening of the Oscars (thanks, David, for reserving that ticket for me!). The support (and tough love) I've received from them has been a godsend, and I have no idea what I would have done without them.


My mother spent 10 days in hospital, and is now recovering at home. She is getting stronger each day, though the road ahead is still quite long. My role at home has changed, as I am now the only source of income until my mom can get back to work. In a single moment, I became an adult. They say you never truly grow up until your parents pass away. Well, like that 'truth is stranger than fiction' statement earlier, I can tell you this is just as true. In a split second, I became an adult, and I still don't quite know what to do with it.


A few days after my mom's death and resuscitation, I was told my uncle's brother-in-law, a man I've called uncle since I was a child (despite not technically being related by blood) was in the final stages of his life. While my mother was recovering from her own brush with death, my uncle's death was impending. On March 20th, around 5:45pm, my uncle passed away just two hours after being taken off of life support.


All through this, I have been doing a lot of thinking, and two things continuously come up in those thoughts. How grateful I am for my family and the friends who have offered me their support in many ways, and how lucky I am February 22nd panned out the way it did. Had it have happened ten minutes sooner, neither my mother or me would be here because it would have happened on the road. Had it have happened ten minutes later, would I have responded in time? Had my colleague not come back inside to tell my mother something, would she be alive now? Were it not for Ellie, who graciously allowed me to stay at her place so I wasn't alone, and for David, who has allowed me to vent and has given me both tough love and the ability to get through this on my own time, I doubt I would have the level head I do right now. I don't know how to thank them for their support. And to everyone else – family, friends, friends who I consider family – who have offered their support in their own ways, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


You may remember a post a few months ago regarding my difficult birth. (If you haven't read it, you can read it here.) In short, those thoughts about purpose have come back. It's been made clear to me that my mother's purpose has not yet been fulfilled, or she wouldn't have come back. My uncle's purpose in life has been fulfilled and thus, his time here is over. I also wasn't meant to die the day my mother did (though, the recent string of death and worry about friends has had me wondering if I've pissed off the Powers That Be), and I'm brought back to the same question I brought up in that other blog post. Why? Why am I here? Why is my mother here? Why did she come back from the dead? Why did I come back from the dead 27 years ago? What are our purposes? What are we meant to do?


It's possible that I will never have those answers, and I don't know if I'm okay with that. But, I do know words cannot properly express how grateful and lucky I am to be here and to have the people I have in my life. I still have a lot of life to live, and I hope my mother does too. And now, both my mother and I have experienced death and lived to tell about it. We're two fiercely strong women who will not go down without a fight. We're pretty awesome.