I almost died. That’s still weird for me to say. I almost died, three times to be exact. That night, as I came to realize my life was in grave danger, I began to pray. I begged God for my life. Although I wasn’t afraid to die like I always thought I might be. In that moment, I had confidence in my faith. There is God, and there is Eternal Life that awaits. There will be peace, and an overwhelming joy to see His face. I never flatlined. So no, I never caught a glimpse of anything in the afterlife. However, I believe without a doubt that this is what awaits us. In that moment though, I begged God for this to not be my time. I couldn’t imagine not seeing my son grow up. I wanted to know him and to love him. I couldn’t imagine not having more time with my spouse. Avery and I were three days away from our first wedding anniversary. I couldn’t imagine leaving either of them behind. It wasn’t my time because my family needed me.
Looking back on this moment, I’ve realized a few more things. Even though I had just gone to the Sacrament of Reconciliation that week, there were a few sins on my heart that I honestly didn’t confess- not purposefully, but because I didn’t recognize them as sins. There are things that I’ve said, done, and thought, that looking back, I am not proud of. I am certain I would have needed to let go of some of these thoughts I remained attached to in Purgatory, had I passed away that night. After this near-death experience, there was a veil lifted that showed me some parts of my life that need attending to. It cleared my conscience that much more to hopefully, make even better Confessions in the future. About two months after the trauma, Avery asked me if I’d join him for Confession at our parish. Levi’s Baptism was the next day, and we figured we should both have our souls cleaned if his was about to be washed of original sin. After making a good examination of conscience, we went to confession, prayed together for a bit, and went home.
After coming home from the hospital after Levi’s birth, my emergency hysterectomy, TTP diagnosis, ALL of it… many thoughts were crossing my mind. Sadly, several of them were coming from a place of deep anxiety and depression. Different parts of our story would hit me at different times. Oh, the overwhelming joy I’d feel just looking at our baby, quickly followed by my own mom guilt of not being able to breastfeed. I would feel deep gratitude to remember that I almost lost my life and yet I’m still here, then followed by deep grief thinking of the loss of my fertility. Having all of these emotions hit in such a short time frame makes it difficult to have clear thoughts, and to know where or rather, who, those thoughts were coming from. And to top all of this off, I was angry. I was angry with God. He saved my life, but why did I have to lose my fertility? Why couldn’t I have had the chance to have more children? To give Levi a sibling?
The next morning sitting in our packed church, I began to zone out a little during the homily, thinking about the loss of my fertility once again. My heart hurt. Then I had a thought enter my head that was very loud and very abrupt: “God loves you less now.” Hearing this, I felt helpless, isolated, and abandoned. Here I sat, looking around at other moms- moms of twins, moms of 2+ kids, pregnant moms. “God loves you less now. He doesn’t love you as much as them.” Hearing this, the room stopped spinning and everything seemed to be still. I sat with this thought, only a few minutes after it had entered my head, and thought about just how ridiculous that was. Realizing this was not coming from my own head, I had to think if it was from God or not. Why in the world would God love me any less? Because I was unable to have more children? Because I no longer have a womb? Even though I was mad at Him, I knew this simply wasn’t true. He has not abandoned me, nor will He ever. I know this in my head, just had to connect my head back to my heart again. Then who was this thought coming from? A chill started in the back of my neck and crept down my spine. Was I really this vulnerable to let Satan get to me even for a few minutes? I remembered Jesus’ words, “Get behind me, Satan.” I told him the same thing.
After hearing this thought, it was rather easy to focus, think about who it was coming from, and move on. This did not come as easily just a day earlier (prior to Confession.) I was NOT going to let Satan steal joy from my life. Fr. Mike Schmitz delivered an awesome homily series titled “Compari-SIN”. Look it up on any podcast app if you are interested. I believe this is one way the cunning serpent uses to get inside our heads. A lot of my thoughts before that I am not proud of come from a place of comparison to others. Although it will be difficult to look at bigger families and not be jealous, I refuse to let Satan use this as an avenue to feed me lies about God and His love for me.
That afternoon, I held my son over the font as my dad, a deacon for the Catholic Church, poured the Baptismal waters over his head. I was overwhelmed with gratitude to see this moment, this day, more than I ever thought I would be. I wasn’t thinking, “Wow, I can’t wait to do this again with the next one.” Rather, I thought about how special it was to be here today, holding him. I rested in this moment. As the water was poured, my anger with God seemed to be washed away with it. Sadness remains, and I still don’t understand why things had to happen the way they did. But I have this moment, my husband, and my son. Though my heart still aches, nothing else matters. I get to live to see another day, including this glorious day my son was welcomed into the Christian family. Thank you, Jesus. You make all things new.
“The one seated on the throne then said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
He also said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”