Sunday, June 6, 2010

. . . . . . Celebrating Life, 1 Year Later

One year ago today, on Sunday June 7, 2009, I laid in my hospital bed experiencing what I believed were my last hours on Earth.

The following thoughts are extremely personal and are normally guarded with great care. I am choosing to share them now in hopes of helping others learn as I have.

Time has brought new perspective to those "final" moments, but they remain in my mind as a spiritual, emotional, and physical experience.

I pray the physical pain of that day will never be matched in my lifetime.

The emotions cannot adequately be described. As I received calls from worried family members who were begging me to keep fighting, I could not agree to their requests. I was not choosing to give up, but rather, I simply knew that it was the end of my mortal life. Every inch of my being knew it, a physical body can only endure so much before the end is inevitable. So it was for me on that night. After nearly 4 weeks in the hospital, the previous days being plagued by an unknown additional illness, my body could not take any more. Finally, sometime early that evening, I accepted Christ's will for my mortal life to come to an end.

It was in that moment, when I realized the end had come, and I had truly accepted it, that I was flooded with peace. The Spirit of God filled me like never before and I knew that even death would be okay.

I did not see a light, or walk a tunnel, I simply felt peace in the thoughts of being reunited with my dear grandmother and in awe of the opportunity to meet my Savior.

No sooner had those thoughts occurred than I had a renewed burst of "energy" to fight for life. I could not let my darling two-year-old son grow up without me, for I realized he would not even remember me as his mother. I could not let my best friend and eternal companion, feel I had given up on our family.

Suddenly, I knew I had a choice and I chose to stay.

The power of the gospel of Jesus Christ intervened and within minutes of receiving a powerful priesthood blessing, the doctors ordered the test that determined the cause of my extreme sickness. I was rushed to critical care and began receiving treatment for "air on the brain" or tension pneumocephalus, a life-threatening complication of brain surgery when too much air fills the brain. Without the cushion of spinal fluid, and extra air in my head, my brain was literally hitting against my skull. Truly, that night should have been my last.

I still shed tears at the thoughts of those moments. It is still more than I can comprehend.

These are more details than I had planned to share, because it is the lessons I learned that are far more important than the details.

What I have learned from that experience is that our hardships, whatever they may be, are opportunities to prove ourselves and our commitment to a loving Father in Heaven. They are chances for personal growth and testimony building. What we initially describe as trials, I believe we will later describe as gifts.

For this new perspective, I am eternally grateful.

For my life, I am eternally grateful.

Today and tomorrow, I am having a celebration of life, not just for my own life, but for the opportunity of life we all have. May we choose to live it well.


Els Manning said...

Wow...thank you for sharing. I read a lot about "near death experiences" after my parents passed away...just 3 months after each other. It was a sort of learning. And there are a lot of others like you. Having to make the choice. And they too expressed the peace, and calm. And it has given me peace. I know the emotions my parents had are alright. They know i love them. And respect their choices. Weird how after these years (1996) i still feel so strongly. And i am glad you made this choice...

quinn smith said...

Incredible, Jody. God is so wonderful. For you to see all of this as a gift is amazing! You truly are touched by Christ and are joined with him in his suffering. What a blessing!

britt said...

that was a very personal and beautiful story you shared about the near & dear experience you had. None of us can truly understand how you felt and what you went through, but one thing for sure is we are all sooo very grateful you didn't let go and fought just a little harder. We are all so truly blessed to have you, your spirit and your incredible example in our lives!
love you!!

Anonymous said...

I love to check in on you and your family, Jodi. I know you continue to dress this garden of life with beautiful colors. You find the peaceable things of the kingdom and remind us. You find pieces of peace and share them. I am grateful for your choice to stay here on earth and bless many lives. I love YOU. Aunt Leslie McLean.

Jeff and Andee said...

Amazing, Jodi! Thanks for sharing.

annie said...

Lovely post. Thank you for sharing such a personal experience.

Michelle said...

I am so grateful you have survived all of this. I know that the challenges don't end but again, your example and your testimony and strength have inspired me so much. You are so blessed. Thank you for sharing.

The Hall's said...

Thanks for sticking around with us Jodi! You're a fighter:)!!

carolyn said...

Thank you for sharing a very personal story...yours is a miracle story that has touched many lives including your own as you have share sacred experiences of your life. Last Sunday I read a scripture to the class about 'God is a God of miracles-having by faith in Him." I read an letter shared by Susan Condie,VP and General Merchandise Manager of Seagull Books, wrote of a very unexpected and thought provoking experience she had while working out at a gym. She wrote 'only Our Father in Heaven, who knows us perfectly and individually, who knows what each of us is capable of, and who knows exactly why He sent us here and what He sent us here to do can see the end from the beginning. Only He knows what hardships and experiences each of us will need to pass through in order to become who He needs us to become. He sent us here knowing each one of us would have the ability to "finish the course," and to endure to the end-to overcome every challenge and every difficulty that would befall us. ..While the incline maybe steep and the resistance levels difficult, it is only through the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ that each one of us, through obedience and unwavering faith, will receive the spiritual fortification and stength to continue moving steadily forward..." You are truly amazing person and a very, very lucky lady to be where you are today. I am glad you made the choice to remain here on earth. God is with you every step of the way and you are a blessing to us all! Have a wonderful day.. Aloha nui loa and hugs...Carolyn