My entire life, I have been so fortunate to have amazing people surround me. I have met people from all over the place as I have lived in many places, visited many places and have been involved in various aspects of community living that has allowed me to engage with people at deeply personal levels. Not to mention my career and the people I have been fortunate to meet and sustain relationships with as a result of the work I do.
When I was able to compose myself enough three days later to look at my phone after the heart attack and posted “I had a heart attack” on the book of face and insta, I could have never of imagined what would happen as a result of that post.
It was like every person I had ever met in my life was right next to me. Maybe it was someone from high school or college or a previous relationship, family, a friend’s family, whoever it may have been it was like every person in every group or community I had ever come in contact with, activated.
I think the thing about me having a heart attack that is startling to the people around me is obviously my age. I think my heart attack shoved people’s mortality into their faces. I know how I have felt when someone close to my age has passed away. It is devastating and it makes you re-think everything.
The thing about this situation though, I didn’t die. This time. I know. Morose. I say “this time” because statistically, I am on track to have another heart attack this year. This next year is critical to my heart health but I believe in science and I believe in data so when everything lends itself to “The chances of you having another heart attack this year are XYZ,” the only thing I can do is make sure my house is in order for my children if and when that happens.
So because I didn’t die, I think I serve as a constant reminder to the people around me about just how delicate this life is. Every morning when I wake up I say the words, “I had a heart attack.” I say that because it is such an incredibly difficult reality to live with, I need to remind myself so I can get passed the “I should really be dead,” part of the morning and try to have a semi-productive day.
I know everyone means well, I do. I just need you to know two things:
- When you ask me how I am doing, please know, I have no idea how to answer the question. I would much rather know how you are doing and what is going on with you.
- I know you are so hopeful for me and that you want me to feel “better” today and but chances are, I do not feel better today. I have had a lot of set backs and I feel worn out. My mind and body are just worn out.
So while I would love nothing more than to tell you I am doing better, I would be lying if I did and I am not a liar. I am finding that some people can’t handle being met with Jess in this state. If you know me, you know that I am generally happy, almost all of the time laughing (what I would do to laugh that consistently again) don’t let much bother me and love showing up for your life and sharing in your joy. I am not any of these things right now.
I am volatile. So angry. I feel gross. My body feels weak. The medications I am forced to take to stay alive are causing ailments in other areas of my physical being that I cannot do anything about because I need them. I want to lift a barbell and cannot. Fuck, I would even go for a run if I could, but I can’t. I want to go on a trip, but I cannot fly. I want to be in a loving, caring partnership; but really, who in their right mind wants the middle-aged single mom with heart disease.
You guys are super hopeful for me and I appreciate that. Some of you are very religious and I only found that out through this experience. You have added me to your prayer circles, I didn’t even know you were in a prayer circle. Your mom or dad have also added me to their prayer circles. You have written songs for me and sang them to me, you orchestrated meal trains. Do you guys know about this? People sign up to bring food to your house when you are sick. You guys signed up and then actually brought the food over and it was delicious. I received no less than forty-five bouquets of delivered flowers, gift baskets, blankets, clothes, warm socks, smutty books, you name it, you guys gave it and continue to give it to me.
I am not religious but have found myself caught on one of those shows on a Sunday morning closing my eyes and listening. Just listening. I take what I need and leave the rest but what I have taken in the past six weeks is that this happened for a reason.
I may never know the reason why I survived a heart attack that most die from. I know that the universe didn’t like the direction I was headed and completely halted my entire life.Just this thought alone is difficult for me because my life was amazing, I loved every single thing about. And it was a good life but I know I was trying to maintain a pace that was not sustainable. I think I knew deep down that something was going to give. No way in a million years did I think it would take something like this to stop me. I know I am an Aries and stubborn as fuck so maybe this is what it was going to take. Obviously, this is what it took.
My hope and goal is to at some point, be able to tell you that I am doing better. Until then, every thought you have of me or my children, I am grateful for and appreciate you. Please don’t stop thinking of us.