Dad died almost two years ago of a heart attack, and I think of him so many times throughout the day, it’s as if he’s still here with me. In 1996, his doctors told him that he had two months to two years to live. This went on for fifteen years! Every doctor’s visit the same: “There’s nothing we can do, maybe another year if you’re lucky.”
At first he felt crushed and depressed, but then he stopped thinking about it. He’d focus on cooking something delicious for dinner. He’d put tea lights all around, polish the furniture and make iced tea. He’d find something funny to watch, call an old friend and tell a joke. He’d go to the store and buy someone a present. For years, he’d call me every month and say, “I just bought you the best birthday present.” He’d have to tell me right away what it was.
Once dad went to the cardiologist. “There’s nothing we can do. This artery is 100% blocked.”
The next time they did a scan, it showed that his heart had spontaneously grown a tiny vein that circumvented the artery. This happens sometimes, but it is rare.
Dad told me this story about one of his particularly bad heart attacks. He said that the EMTs put him into the ambulance. His heart rate was very high. They said “We’re losing him.”
Dad grabbed his hand and said, “Please tell my family how much I love them.”
When he woke up in the hospital, his cardiologist peered down at him and said, “I have no idea why you’re here. There is no medical reason why you should be alive.”
I believe Dad’s secret weapons were prayer and a joyful zest for life. I wish I had the same joie de vivre he did; I am prone to getting scared. But, his story inspires me every day. We are not statistics. We don’t know what the future will bring.
I keep reminding myself, “Don’t Stop Believin!” No one knows what’s on the road ahead.