August 2, 2013

Riding My Life

"MOM!! OH MY GOD, MOOOOOM!!! Somebody do something! MOM!!!" my beautiful daughter sobbed at the foot of my hospital bed.

"I love you Olivia. Mark, take care of her. You two take care of each other. Remember Honey, Mommy loves you. Goodbye."

I sank into the bed, felt my soul move from my body and go into "the other side". My daughter and then-husband stood, her sobbing and him yelling, as they watched my monitors go flatlined. My heart had stopped and my lungs were no longer pushing air in and out of my body. Life had left me and I was in a "better place", for the time being.


The week before, I was so angry that the cardiologist's office had called and had changed my next appointment, citing that the doctor was very concerned about my recent test results on my heart. Had they not rescheduled my appointment for Christmas Eve at noon, I wouldn't have been so incensed, but I just knew my then-husband would be pissed. Being O.C.D.(Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) he was not good with change. For him every minute of Christmas Eve and Christmas had a schedule, the same every year with changes and/or interruptions simply unacceptable. But since I was being told this was truly a matter of life and death, I figured I had better go to the appointment.

"We need to admit you to the hospital," the cardiologist insisted. "You need an angiogram, as soon as possible. We'll admit you today to monitor you, but the soonest we can do the procedure will be two days from now, December 26th. I want you to go straight from here to our local hospital and check in. They'll be waiting for you."

Stunned, my then-husband looked at me in the doctor's presence and asked, "Who the fuck is going to cook that turkey now?" My daughter just stood and wept, worried that I was dying.

Sadly, I was not surprised by his reaction. He bitched and moaned all the way to the hospital. We stopped by home first to get a few things for my stay. Over and over he admonished me for ruining his Christmas with my selfishness by going to that appointment and now he would have to wait another year for the only day he enjoys all year long.

"Thanks, you selfish bitch. Thanks a fucking lot," he muttered as he drove.

I had become so immune to his constant bitching that I simply ignored him, focusing on how I would handle spending the time in the hospital. I hadn't even begun to think about the severity of the procedure, nor how much danger my heart condition has actually put me in.

real-biker-chickA few hours later I was being revived by a couple of nurses after being dead for 2 min 32 sec. In a state of altered consciousness I felt my soul slam back into my body after my ethereal experience. My body hurt, everywhere, and badly. Feeling heavy and thick, filled with dire pain, I groaned as I looked into my daughter's face. For the rest of my life I will remember her sad, red, wet face, and her mouth open as she screamed.

"MOOOM! Her eyes are open! Can you hear me? Oh my God, she's alive! MOM!!"

I felt guilt, instantly, for hurting her so. My then-husband just stood there, angry, not saying a word. Within 15 minutes he was ready to leave the hospital. He took Olivia and headed home, only to sulk and wallow in his self pity. I didn't see them again until 1pm on Christmas Day.

That night I barely slept, thinking about the miraculous events that had occurred and the beautiful place I had been. The amazing colors, the hum of the universe, the deep understanding I had gained of life and existence all filled my mind and warmed my heart. While I was only gone 2 1/2 minutes in life, my experience on the other side lasted hours and hours. The knowledge and peace I gained was greater than the culmination of all of the events spanning my entire life. Suddenly everything made sense and it was all so ludicrous and silly, meaningless yet more meaningful than ever before.

In the coming weeks I realized how sick I was of my situation, especially my marriage, and wanted to make changes. My daughter moved out to start her own life, and even though I missed her terribly, I was glad she was able to be independent. Soon, she met a wonderful young man and they fell in love.

For the next year I asked my husband every Friday to go to therapy with me, but he refused. After one year, to the day, I went to him and told him I was leaving. He then asked to go to therapy with me, which lasted all of 6 sessions. Each session ended with us riding home as he screamed at me, calling me a "cunt", complaining I had "thrown him under the bus." He wanted me to lie to the therapist, found it unacceptable that I would tell her our private issues, and was not going to allow me to continue this way. After 6 weeks of this insanity I separated from him and soon after, we were divorced.

It was then that my life started to take off. I started dating Highway, began taking better care of myself, and lost 70 lbs. I made many, many new friends, began traveling, started a new career and my own business, got my motorcycle endorsement and eventually, bought my own motorcycle. Now we are married, having just celebrated our one year wedding anniversary. We are riding across America with reckless abandon on our Road Pickle, enjoying life as it comes, not as we plan it. I'm no longer afraid of life or death. I've learned to live in the NOW, embrace what life brings me, and to remember that everything is temporary.

The physical pain, the emotional pain, the joy, the elation, the indifference, they all pass. Life is like riding. I can ride a thousand roads, and many of them look and feel similar, but in truth none are the same. You just keep moving and they pass by, never to be traveled in quite the same way again. Every moment that we hide, refuse to try, refuse to live, we are wasting the only thing that matters. Life is not meant to be easy; always happy, always sunny. It's meant to be many things! It's meant to rain, sometimes it's meant to hail, and sometimes the sun is meant to shine. Sometimes the sun is very hot and some nights are very dark. None of that matters. The only thing that matters, the only thing that's real, is life itself.

It took dying to teach me that I was already dead. Now I'm riding my life and I'm finally alive.



  1. <<<<tears...Happy tears for you

  2. I've stayed quiet while reading along... ever since you've left. Until now.

    You are an inspiration to women everywhere. No matter how bad life beats you down... you've risen above it. We can gain strength through your example.

    I'm very thankful you had the strength to leave that life. You are very blessed now to have Highway to share it with. God bless you both.

    Ride safe and take care,
    Lady R

  3. ... what's left to say? What strikes me is the difference...

    Steve told the story of a woman on whom very much the same sorts of brutalities were inflicted. Something in her withered and withdrew from life.

    Another woman, teetered on that precipice for a time, yet somehow, somewhere discovered what it took to hang on to life...

    Two women in much the same circumstance... two very different outcomes...

    Those in the same place would do well to search both stories for the key to their own situation... Maybe there'd be more of the good outcomes...

    ...and maybe, a few men could learn to stop being orifices with legs.

  4. Isn't it amazing what the body can endure and still survive?

    So happy I am that you got yourself out of the nightmare you were in and started living the dream instead.

    Life is too short not to be happy.

  5. As I mentioned to you before, it's very inspirational. You have plenty of good reasons to not be doing anything -- no one would fault you for basically hiding away in an air-conditioned room for the rest of your life -- but you carry forward.

    Also, it's a kick-ass conversation winner. You can just sit back and wait patiently while a person goes into full on "Me" mode, then you can knock them down with: "Did I ever tell you about the time I was dead for two and a half minutes? Like, you know when you'r watching football and there's a commercial break and you have time to pee and get some more chips. Imagine instead of doing that you just died."

  6. validated by your telling of this, similar shoes, similar gauntlet, similar very validated by your words, xox


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