Christmas Eve 2008 I went to the hospital with chest pains. I had been seeing a cardiologist for months who was trying to diagnose my cardiac issues, but to no avail. The trip to the hospital led to my death. I was on the other side for 2 1/2 minutes, but it seemed like much longer. The nurses ran the crash cart into the room and in front of my screaming 18-year-old daughter Olivia and my then husband Mark, I was paddled and brought back to life.
I've previously written about what I found on the other side.
At that time in my life I was very miserable. I was 100 lbs overweight, my then-husband was terribly unhappy every single day, and my daughter was having a very rough year. She had turned 18 in April, quit school and moved in with my mother, moved back home, then decided she wanted to meet the boy she had been talking to online. In October she bounced a check to Southwest Airlines and flew to Florida to meet him with only a packed rolling ice chest and a backpack. She had very little money and had told no one that she was leaving and where he lived.
When I got the call from her that she was somewhere in Florida, I was terrified. I didn't hear back from her for 2 weeks. Those weeks were the hardest of my life.
Along with missing my daughter terribly, my then husband became angrier than ever. All I wanted was my baby to come home safely. He just shouted and slammed doors. Perhaps that is how he was dealing with his emotions, but we had virtually no communication by that point of our marriage, so I simply kept my mouth shut and tolerated him.
On December 15th, Olivia came home after being beaten by that young man. She was sickly, tired and hurt inside and my heart broke just at the sight of her. Eight days later I died in that hospital bed.
In hindsight it makes so much sense.
Six years later I realize my life has changed entirely.
Now I celebrate my Second Life rather than Christmas. I embrace the changes I've consciously brought about in my world and am filled with gratitude for all that has come my way.
Motorcycling seems to be the vehicle of change in my life. It transforms me from dependent to independent, allowing me to choose my roads, grasping the controls, leaving me entirely responsible for my choices. On a motorcycle I can blame no one for where I go, how quickly I get there, or for any mistakes I make along the way. The entire world is in my two hands.
Things happen along the way that I don't expect while motorcycling too. There are the dangers, such as potholes, wet roads and cagers who don't see me and swerve into my lane. There are also the unexpected beauties such as pink sunsets against purple mountains, deer and elk in golden fields, and sweet, green alfalfa fields roadside.
Motorcycling is the metaphor for my life, as well as a way to live that life. When the road is cracked and rotting, I focus on the good road to find my way. When I start out on a ride I can't see my destination, but I have faith that I will get there. If I am seeing with only tunnel vision, I will miss out on something wonderful. If I'm rushing to my destination I will not enjoy the journey.
Today, instead of slamming doors, yelling and heartbreak, my road is filled with laughter, delicious meals and bright horizons. Sure, we hit some storms from time to time, but even in those I find joy in the smell of rain, the beauty of the cloudscape and the amazing sense of accomplishment I receive from enduring a harsh, wet ride.
On this, the 6th Anniversary of my Second Life, I wish you all safe riding, open roads and happy trails.