Tomorrow, you see, will be my eleventh Not Dead Day.
Eleven years ago today, I was in Singapore enjoying day two of the first holiday I’d taken in years. There were plans to visit the zoo in the afternoon, but the morning was to be passed in the company of a cardiologist who could evaluate my meds and send me back to Seychelles knowing that I was on the right track pharmacologically.
That was the theory.
In reality, however, my quick consultation morphed into a series of tests my body failed miserably, and instead of sharing a banana with my favorite orang utan in Singapore, I was admitted to Mt. Elizabeth Hospital and prepped for an angiogram.
What was discovered during that less-than-pleasant procedure was a blockage in my left descending coronary artery, and what I was told, as I was shifted from gurney to bed with the admonishment that assuming any position but flat on by back could be fatal was:
You have between one and thirty days to live … unless we perform coronary bypass surgery immediately.
So, the next morning they did exactly that.
Mark was there, and spent the time before surgery praying to the wide range of gods on offer in this Asian city; the Buddha of Four Faces in Bugis Street got many oranges and joss sticks that night, which is why one representation graces my house to this day.
The now-ex sent his offerings up with the request that cracking open my chest and tinkering with my heart would give me another ten years. (He now says he should have wished for eight … )
It’s been eleven, so I’ve been swimming in gravy.
There’s something about being able to put a date to the time you might have died that lends itself to mental wandering down that path that leads from then to now, and a lot happens in eleven years.
Had I gone then, I would have died a happy, content woman, secure in home and hearth, loved and cared for, with two grown children and a mother and brothers who’d have grieved the loss of me along with many dear friends.
Apparently, however, the lessons weren’t over.
Of course, Sam and Cj are the biggest bonus my extra years gifted. Missing out on them would have been a loss too huge to let myself consider. I would also have missed my granddaughter … the beautiful bit of my mitochondrial DNA that marches forth in time.
I’ve written a few words over these years that may resonate for a while, and somewhere in the big book of my life those count for something.
And I’ve had many amazing moments, and since life is nothing but a series of moments I’m grateful for each brilliant spark illuminating an hour or a minute or a day.
I have no idea when my last moment will come, but having scored the millions played out since my bypass I’ll not be too disappointed when it does.
Death is a door, and when I do pass through there will be no shortage of people I’ll be happy to see again, and hanging around waiting for others to join … as is inevitable … won’t be a lonely endeavor.
So … while you can … wish me a happy Not Dead Day as you enjoy your moments.