It’s a date I’ll never forget. It came the day after Heidi’s 34th birthday – undoubtedly the worst birthday she ever had. One spent in a hospital room, watching paralysis slip into our son’s vital organs.
And then, 24 hours later, his miraculous recovery began.
Some promises I made to myself in the weeks that followed, I’ve kept – especially the ones pertaining to perspective. Life itself is the gift. Stuff like that. It sounds like the crap out of a greeting card; but when you finally understand it in the core of your gut, it becomes a mantra, a driving philosophy for life.
I was reflecting back today on those moments from two years ago and, from a distance, I wonder how we kept it together. I remember people saying that: I don’t know how you did it. To which, Heidi and I always responded: we didn’t have a choice.
From afar, it looks crazy. We were living on one income and I was working for a company that was shedding personnel, in an industry that was struggling, in an economy that was in shambles. Friends and family became an incredible crutch; their prayers and thoughts our fuel. Somehow we emerged on the other side.
The months that have followed have been incredible. We managed to pay off the bills, Heidi got a new job, I got a new job. And most importantly Brody and Beckett are healthy and happy.
There’s been no remission; and that’s a beautiful thing. The farther away we get, the smaller the chance of recurrence.
If this all looks like some Hollywood story arc, fear not, that’s what it feels like to live it, too. Life-changing moments really do exist. And sometimes we learn from them.
That’s not to say I’ve kept all the promises I made in the weeks that followed Beckett’s recovery.
I could be a better husband, a better father. I could pay more attention when I fill out my tax forms; so that the state Revenue Department doesn’t reject my electronic filing four times in a single week (true story).
But if I’m going to specifically focus this year on one of the promises I made back then, it’s on living as healthy as I possibly can – not because somebody is forcing me too; not because I feel like I have to, but because I want to. I want be healthy and life a long full life; to retire and travel with Heidi, to hike with my kids’ kids well into my golden years.
That takes an investment; it means making the deposits now – 8-hours of sleep a night, healthy food choices, a commitment to physical activity – so that I can make the withdrawals later.
The goal: keep the hell out of a hospital for as long as possible.
As we learned a couple years ago, your hospital stays are usually as worse – if not moreso – for the people that love you than they are for you.