On our walk to the beach from the dance studio last week, I began to feel such gratitude for being able to do beach boot camp. My memory started flooding with a near death experience I had August 1st, 2014 on the way to a very similar beach workout. I was riding my mountain bike down Front Beach Rd on a very familiar route that I took regularly before getting pregnant with my son. I was heading to the pier at Pier Park just 7 miles West of my home, and about 5.5 miles in, I collapsed off of my bike, started shaking (seizure like activity), and fell to the ground with my bicycle and my belongings. Thankfully, a man (an angel from my viewpoint), was very near me and able to resuscitate me until help arrived. I barely awoke days later in the hospital with family and friends surrounding me, and no recollection of how I got there or memory of anything really. I recognized my family and friends, and knew their names, but detailed memories and basically anything specific of the past weeks was a wash. There was vague understanding and explanation from anyone including the hospital staff; in fact, I felt very rushed out of the building when I awoke, and very confused about why the staff wanted me removed from the hospital so quickly. I had insurance, so that wouldn't be a reason... Anyways, after visits to several doctors, the best answer I received was that they felt I must have had a blood clot that went to my brain possibly from being taken off blood thinners to quickly or incorrectly. See, after we had a very difficult pregnancy many years prior (that's a whole other story), we had genetic testing done to see why what happened happened. The studies showed that I have APS (antiphospholipid syndrome) which is an autoimmune disorder that provokes blood clots in both arteries and veins as well as causes pregnancy-related complications such as miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm delivery, and severe preeclampsia--putting it simply, I have thick blood. As you can imagine, I had to be prescribed blood thinners for each of my successful pregnancies, and the abrupt stop to its use in my first, is thought to be the reasoning behind this event.

When people speak to me about this event, it is almost as if we are speaking about someone else. It's like it was a total out-of-body experience. I remembered, weeks later, taking my bike from the overhead bike rack in the garage that morning, and I even remembered riding my bike as far as the merging point of Front and Middle Beach Roads, and I remember feeling energetic and pumped that morning--it's so crazy to me how quickly things can change, and take a 360 degree turn even! I was reminded of just how grateful I should be to have little memory of this event, when almost a week to the day, a singer came in to the club with his wife whom had a very similar accident as me. This was a beautiful couple, who'd been together since high school, been married and had a son together; the two were always together, happy, and gave you security of what love could be like just being around them. Never having asked for the official story from "the horses mouth" so to speak, this is completely hearsay, but follow me anyways. So apparently the couple went to the gym into the separate locker rooms for men and women as they are commonly set up, and after the woman didn't emerge for a long period, her husband became worried, and sent someone to check on her. It seems she was in there for quite a while before someone checked, and it is unknown exactly how ling she'd been out, but the incident put her in the hospital unresponsive for several months, and with very little response even a year later. The husband had to balance raising their son by himself, trying to keep playing gigs to put food on the table, and being there for his wife in the hospital while handling his own needs and emotions through this very difficult and trying time. I know that I saw so much love in his posts, and I saw a loyalty that we should all dream of--if ever this happened so severely to me, I'd be so thankful that someone loved me this much. 

On this day when they were visiting the bar location that I ran, he asked me to help fix her hair and put on her makeup because he wanted her to feel beautiful. He spoke about her and played songs just for her (to her) in front of everyone. He was still proud to have her, and mentioned the songs they use to dance to. I sat next to her as she was confined to a wheelchair, watched her 7-year-old son feed her (and sadly making fun of her because he was too young to understand), and saw the clothing pulled upon her body by her husband who was obviously just trying to learn and get better from the experience himself. It was all so beautiful, but so difficult to take in--I literally cried uncontrollably every time I would walk away from her. She could only speak with me through her eyes and mild hand gestures, she couldn't even direct her own son from his faults as he took care of her, and I wondered why me? Why was I given another chance? I am certainly no better, no more kind, and no more worthy. This beautiful woman was not as lucky as me with her very similar experience. I was and continue to be so lucky to think of this as an experience that I can hardly remember. This woman will never be able to forget what happened to her. She gave me so much strength that much appreciation for all that I truly have. There will always be unanswered questions as to why things happen the way they do as I continue to practice being in the moment, thankful for each I am given, and trying to make this world just a little greater through my actions, appreciation, and love. Namaste...