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Extended Life Anniversary

in Life Lessons, Nonfiction Writing

blowing hearts

Photo by Tinneketin on

About this time 10 years ago, I was sitting in the waiting room at the hospital waiting for another update on my father-in-law. I was pregnant with my first full-term child, and there was a very real possibility that she would never meet her grandfather.

Jerry had gone in for “routine” open heart surgery. The procedure itself went as planned. While in recovery, however, it quickly became obvious that something wasn’t right. That something turned out to be a respiratory problem called ARDs. This was the same disorder that took the life of my mother-in-law’s sister several years prior.

The first attempt to remove the breathing tube proved unsuccessful. We were given the chance of survival as 50/50. Surrounded by church members, family, and friends, we had a week-long revival in the lobby as patient after patient was checked in for surgery, moved into recovery, moved on to their own room, and eventually checked out. All the while, my father-in-law was fading.

Somewhere along the way, the prayers made it to the Big Guy. My father-in-law walked out without memories of the pain or the week that he lost in a hospital bed. We are now celebrating our 10th year of his extended life.

As I think about everything that he could have missed, my heart breaks. He could have missed meeting my three kids and his first two great-grandbabies. He could have missed tons of laughter, hugs, story times, baby birds, walks in the park, hot cups of coffee, and snuggles. He could have missed 10 years of life.

When modern medicine and God work together, there are pretty amazing things that can come out of it. My father-in-law has spent his gift of time with friends and family, to serve people in his community, and even take a stab at fulfilling a dream or two.

But what have I done with the 10 years? I’m raising three kids and writing, obviously, but if I have to admit that there are more things that I wish I had done than things that I actually did. I want to live every day; not just exist in it.

My Bucket List is large and still growing, but I have a tendency to always think that I can do it tomorrow or next week or next year. I don’t live in the moment. I haven’t used every day to help me fulfill my purpose in life.

Do you?

I can count on a single hand the number of people that I would say live their lives to the fullest. I would like to add myself to that list. While I can’t travel like I’d like at this point in my life, there are little things I can do to make today a little more purposeful. I can accept challenges and take chances. I can try something new and laugh at my mistakes. I can live in a way that makes me grateful for having been given that day to live.

Happy 10 year “extended life” anniversary to my father-in-law. We couldn’t imagine the last 10 years without you, and we look forward to (at least) 10 more.

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