Though I’ve been sealed to him for over 38 years, I came to understand, in a heartbeat, that his heart is my heart – literally – the moment the doctor informed us that Bob was in cardiac arrest and would need to be transferred immediately to another hospital. He was in pain. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. It felt like we were in the Twilight Zone. This can’t be happening. He’s too young (61) and in excellent physical condition. He’s that guy who’s never taken a break from physical activity since his high school basketball days. Among his greatest joys in life is still being able to take on some of the local high school basketball team players at the gym and occasionally beating them at 21. Which is exactly what he had just done, when he arrived home a little after 11 pm that fateful night.
I followed the ambulance the entire way to Temecula Valley Hospital where the cardiac team was waiting to take him immediately into the Cath Lab. The moment I understood the gravity of what was happening, prior to him being transferred, I left the ER so that I could get cell phone reception. In shock, I called my oldest daughter Jennette who lives nearby to tell her what was happening, but mostly to asked her to send her husband to administer a priesthood blessing. I barely made it through that conversation. My faith was in the knowledge of God’s Plan and I knew that Bob’s life was in His Hands – above all others.
As the cardiac team worked quickly to transfer Bob from the ambulance and down the hall to surgery, I firmly, though gently, halted the activity and informed the cardiac surgeon that I wanted Bob to have a religious blessing. I was asked if this could quickly be done as we moved down the hallway? I said no. Once those attending saw that this was serious business, they pushed the gurney into a corner where a curtain could be drawn so that my son-in-law Steve and Bob’s youngest brother Don could administer the blessing. I had a distinct impression, that these people trying desperately to save my husband’s life, though respectful, felt that this delay was extremely risky – and from their perspective, I imagine it was. But my faith in Jesus Christ and His priesthood and the need to bring Heavenly Father into this equation, brought me not only a much-needed sense of peace but more importantly the knowledge that “come what may” God was in control.
It seemed like forever as the three of us sat in that little waiting room, alone… waiting. When the cardiac surgeon finally did make his appearance, he informed us that Bob had had a rough time of it during surgery. That his left-anterior-descending artery had been totally blocked and two stints were placed. He also explained that Bob’s heart had gone into “cardiogenic shock” – a rare condition we later found out, fatal 50% of the time – and that he would need to be in the ICU.
Those few days in the ICU (two to be exact), were filled with one small miracle after another, as Bob managed to conquer each serious hurdle and progress toward recovery (I knew the power of the priesthood was in action). Never once, he later shared, did he feel that his life was in jeopardy. On the other hand, I knew that it was as I observed the critical care he was receiving and the constant concern by doctors and nurses over his condition. The most concerning, was when they came in and placed resuscitation pads on his chest “just in case” because they could not stabilize his heart rhythm and feared a second heart attack. That was when I had to leave the room to go outside into the hall and pull myself together emotionally. I wasn’t ready to lose him and I needed to gather my faith for both of us. I was so grateful that he was blessed with a calm spirit and the ability to enjoy the many visitors he received.
Throughout the entire time in the hospital (five days), we were surrounded by family and friends. All of our five children were able to make arrangements to come home and be with us. If the truth is told, those few days together, in such an intimate setting, were a sacred glimpse into eternity – never to be forgotten. It was cherished time as we felt their love, concern, and support. As with any serious life challenge, we would never seek them out. But the blessings received when Christ’s Plan is at the center make them sweet and memorable, even under difficult circumstances.
Two weeks ago, Bob was released from the hospital and we were sent off on what I like to call our ‘second life.’ I say ‘our’ because his heart is my heart. What happens to him happens to me. We have a renewed perspective and appreciation for God’s Plan and the time we have remaining together here in mortality. There is a sweetness between us, and a deepened love for our family that I know we both consider a heavenly gift. We feel God’s tender mercy in our lives and feel blessed to be sealed in the temple for time and all eternity.
I will confess that I have had moments of fear and feelings of vulnerability about this mortality thing over these last few weeks. When life seemingly spins out of control it’s very disconcerting. But as I exercise faith in Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father’s Plan, I am comforted by the Holy Ghost and feel strengthened to move forward with a peace and assurance that He is always with us. I’ve also come to understand that as my husband’s heart is my heart, and vice-a-versa, so our hearts’ must also be one with Christ’s heart as His is one with the Father’s. What happens to us, happened to Him. What happened to Him, in the Atonement, will happen to us as we make our hearts’ ONE with Him. Herein is the true principle of having our hearts knit together as one in LOVE – “As I have loved you, love one another” — in a profound covenant relationship. How grateful I am for these mortal experiences, though often terrifying, that bring us closer to each other, to Christ, and teach us how to become more like our Heavenly Parents’.
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