Life and Death in Spring

Both of my children were born in April.  April 1 for my youngest and April 27 for my oldest.  Being pregnant as a busy professional meant a forced slow down.  Too early to smell the roses, but certainly a time to watch the bursting forth of life into the world:  daffodils and crocus forcing their way up; forsythia, red buds, tree leaves all breaking out of winter's dormancy. 

Prior to giving birth, I never really took notice.  Buried in my work, the seasons were just a wardrobe change on a large scale.  However as Spring unfolds or Fall creeps in, the daily changes are palpable if one simply takes time to notice.  Once I began trail running (in my early 40's), I became even more in tune with the daily changes that saw the wild azaleas and foxgloves bloom.  The puddles on the trail where the frogs would first shriek and then leap into the muddy puddles as they sensed danger coming toward them.

It has been a month now sense my cousin died.  During her health emergency, one of my husband's colleagues, one of my high school compatriots, was also undergoing a health emergency. K had knee replacement surgery.  Briefly into his recovery, he returned to work for some light duty work.  He fell and had some injury to his head. 

K revealed that he had other falls caused from leg weakness (unrelated to his surgery).  Upon further examination, the cause of the symptoms was determined to be cervical spinal stenosis.  Surgery was undertaken to correct the stenosis.  Unfortunately, he had delayed emergence from his anesthesia--many days. Even without his emerging and then confirmation that he had suffered a stroke after surgery, his family was guided that he would make a full recovery.  Apparently he was recovered enough (though left speechless from the stroke) to go to a rehab facility.  He was not there 2 days before he developed a blood clot in his lung and moved back to the hospital.  Such a cluster of catastrophic health events could not be surmounted.

The family now sits around a hospital bed with their loved one in a medically-induced coma and with life support withdrawn.  Somewhere between Point A and Point B, K's body was deprived of oxygen to the point that his brain stem activity was insufficient to support life. This was the same thing that happened to my cousin when she coded 3 times in the hospital.  She passed quickly.  K was taken off of support last Thursday, and he still lingers.  Such a terrible vigil for the family.

As certain as the seasons march forward, so does our life.  None of us knows how many seasons that we will see.  Best to notice what is bursting forth in our daily lives for tomorrow it will pass--and we might pass.  Mindfulness is a powerful habit to cultivate and provides a window to the little things that pass through individual moments of our life to makes us aware and grateful.


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