Death is only a limit, if you let it be…
July 20th of this year. Will be the one year mark since my artery bypass. I had a blood clot that completely blocked my superior mesintaric artery. Preventing blood flow to my digestive system.
Prior to this surgery, and before Ann Arbor hospital. I was given a death sentence of, I would be lucky to see Christmas. It has been a long road, four death’s in total. Out of twelve months, almost ten have been spent in the hospital’s. After my seven hour surgery, and two weeks in the recovery room. I spent the next eight months preparing to live life out on the road.
This picture was taken only a few short day’s ago. In the beautiful mountains that surround Salt Lake city, and American Fork. The hike was only about two miles. None the less, I crossed two streams of fresh ice mountain snow melt. Drank from both.
I, as you can see, am able to climb the mountain, despite the death sentence I was given not even a year ago yet.
As I sat talking to the Doctor, going over what he was going to do, during the surgery. I had but one burning question. What are the odd’s of me living through the surgery?
His answer I did not expect. His words were sharp, and to the point. “ You will more than likely die during surgery.”
Death did not scare me. I had just done that four time’s within the prior six months. Knowing the exact date, did not bother me neither. What bothered me was something I had never faced before. Telling my family that in just under two months, I was more than likely going to die. Was only half of my new battle. Making them OK to this idea, and trying to keep them up beat about it. My great and glorious plan was to write what I called in my book, “letters of death”. In these letters that were sent out the day I went into surgery, I did my best to say a “possible good bye”, yet fill the letter with love and joke’s. Doing my best to make light of a situation that was gravely serious.
Seven hours later, To put a movie pun in this dark part of my story. “The odds were ever in my favor”. I went into this surgery with a knowing of life. Not death. I had no fear, and I looked at this as the final chapter to a life well lived. That no matter the outcome, I had lived a full life. Even at the tender age of twenty nine, life could not be any more full, than what i had lived.
As I came out of surgery, I had all the nurses telling me I was doing everything to soon. Still under forty eight hours of surgery, the staff against their will, agreed to let me walk as far as I could handle. Of course under heavy guidance from three nurses. Three hundred feet the first time out. Then five hundred. Then eight hundred, Before they new it. I had one and a half miles logged in, all still under forty eight hours after surgery.
The more I became aware of my surroundings, the more I realized, this was only the beginning. That this was NOT, a second chance at a life already fully lived. This was another life. This was not a chance, but an oppurtunity to live an even fuller life.
And from that day, that is just what I have done. One could easily say, i faced death head on. And beat the odds. I to an extent, will agree. However, I simply look at it like this. I found a limit, a wall. And rather than looking at the size of it, or the hardships yet to face by overcoming it. I simply started to climb. Never caring how hard, or how far it was to the top. Or if I would even make there. One hand, one foot in front of the other. Enjoying the view, and stopping to smell the roses along the way. As a human, we are faced with many limits, every moment of every day. As a being, within the human avatar, it is up to us, to push past that limit. We seldom look at it in this light. I am no exception. However, when you come to take that first step, into being more than what you limit yourself by. It becomes so much easier to climb past the size of any wall. and simply enjoy the life that is.
There is an old story I was told as a child. I never understood the depth until I looked out from the rock face you see me hugging. It goes something like this.-( As a man hung tightly to a rope. Hanging off a mountain, death below, and death above. If he climbed to the top, he would be eaten by a hungry tiger, waiting at the top. If the man should let go, he would fall to his death. one thousand feet below. As the man thought what to do. He noticed, a strawberry on the rock wall. With nothing to do, he plucked it and took a bite. It was the best tasting strawberry he had ever eaten.)
It is easy, to look at the horrible death in either case. Up, or down. When you just simply live every moment to the fullest. Never giving in to the urge to stress over anything. Life is the most enjoyable.