Two years ago today, they tore my kitchen apart. It was a remodel three years in the making, one that started with a broken garbage disposal, precipitated not one but two cross-country moves, and began, at last, on the day my mother suffered a catastrophic heart attack.
What a mess.
I remember feeling numb. I remember watching myself text our pastor, Kathryn. I didn’t want to bother her, but she was strong, and faithful, and hilarious, and I knew I would need all three. I remember driving to meet my dad at the hospital, thinking, “Is this how it happens?” I remember rounding the corner to the waiting room, and seeing my dad, small and elderly and brave. I remember the 14 IV bags dripping together into my mom’s body after the surgery, a wonder of science and synergy.
We received a great gift that day.
Just a week earlier, a cardiologist had told my mother that she was fine. That her stress test was normal. That the neck and shoulder pain she’d been feeling wasn’t heart-related. By all rights, she should have crawled back in bed that morning to sleep away the pain. But she had a routine appointment with her family doctor, so when the heart attack finally took her down, hours and hours after the onset of symptoms, she wasn’t alone in her bed. She was in the middle of a medical office, with a staff that knew what to do to save her life.
So on this anniversary, I’m full of gratitude. Not only for the office staff, the ambulance crew, the cardiac surgeon, and the diligent nurses who saved her. But also for the woman who is my mother, who has fought back from the brink more than once to save herself. And by doing so, saved me as well.
I consider the years we’ve had together since September 23, 2014 to be Bonus Time. We’ve had two more Thanksgivings and two more Christmases together. We celebrated an extended family reunion that would have been a heartbreaking affair had things gone differently. More than once, I’ve spent time with my mom and her sisters, which is a joy unto itself. We got front-row parking at the Pennsylvania Farm Show with her new handicapped parking placard. We’ve met for lunch, just the two of us. We got front-row parking at my son’s school chorus concert. We got front-row parking at my daughter’s dance recital. We get a lot of front-row parking.
There’s so much to be thankful for.