One Shining Moment

Saturday, October 19th, 2013. A beautiful crisp fall day. Our condominium complex drive was cheerfully planted with bright cushion mums. Little did we know in July 1997, when we moved from Iowa to Boston, how important that housing choice and this date would become.

Our condominium high rise building is across the street from side entrances to Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the premiere healthcare facilities in the United States. As some of you already know, on Monday, October 14th, 2013, my husband suffered a six-minute cardiac arrest in front of our building. He was rushed by ambulance to MGH; put into an induced coma on life support. They lowered his body temperature and gave him a paralytic drug to keep him absolutely still, trying to minimize brain damage.

On Tuesday evening, October 15th, his body temperature was slowly raised as he was weaned from the paralytic drug. We were told he may or may not wake up. If he did, it would not be for at least 72 hours and, in all likelihood, he would not be himself. Against all odds, he woke up at 9 PM that night. Wednesday morning October 16th, he was taken off life support, intubation tube removed, and he correctly answered all questions posed to him by a neurologist. On Thursday, October 17th, he was moved to the cardiac step-down unit, out of intensive care. Friday, October 18th, he had a defibrillator implanted. Saturday, October 19th, he was released from the hospital. And in one shining moment, with our son and daughter on either side of him, he walked back home. Back across the street and back into our lives.

dark clouds dissipate –  –
honeysuckle blooms again
bees hum in bright sun

Photo is a bit blurry as I was crying tears of joy when I took it.
Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets where today I’m hosting and asking folks to write about one shining moment in their lives.

46 thoughts on “One Shining Moment

  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) June 22, 2020 / 3:13 pm

    What a fantastic shining moment… it seems that it was so close for him, but maybe the proximity to the hospital that really saved him. I am so happy for you and your familty

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 22, 2020 / 3:31 pm

      Oh yes… fortunately we live just across the street. But there were so many “angels along the way” …. so many things that just fell into place. He had been to the gym and run home and luckily had the “arrest” right in front of our building (instead of 2 blocks away); a woman happened to be walking behind him and she immediately did CPR even though she never done it before and was petrified; our “concierge” of our building saw George collapse, came out with her cell and immediately called 911 for an ambulance; another woman who is a bit “flighty” and scatterbrained happened to be there and the concierge told her to go to 7N and get me immediately – the elevator happened to open right when she rang for it — but she went to 7A by mistake. The young woman MD had just gotten home from rounds and answered the door, heard the problem and got on the elevator (which happened to stay on the 7th floor) and rode it down and immediately took over CPR. EMTs arrived and she kept the CPR as they loaded him on the gurney and put him in ambulance. Had to shock his heart there twice to get it back. Then, just a quick drive to the emergency entrance and fabulous care. As I say every morning when I wake up with him by my side, “Thankful for every day.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. kim881 June 22, 2020 / 3:21 pm

    What an amazing recovery, Lill! I can only imagine how relieved you were to get George home – a shining moment indeed. I love the honeysuckle and bees.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 22, 2020 / 3:59 pm

      Ah…. you made me smile. I would say, truthfully, the other two “shining moments” in my life, if one were to measure them, would definitely be the births of our two children. 🙂


  3. Helen Dehner June 22, 2020 / 4:02 pm

    Chills all over ~~ a most amazing, inspirational and beautiful haibun/story. I cannot imagine a happier moment for all of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 22, 2020 / 4:02 pm

      We are truly blessed and as I say every morning, thankful for every day.


  4. Glenn A. Buttkus June 22, 2020 / 4:17 pm

    Incredible haibun, sweet haiku, touching recollection. So many parallels in our lives. 10 days ago I was rushed to the hospital with a temp of 104, and almost comatose. I had a bad infection leading to Septus. 5 days in the hospital later I was sent home and told how lucky I had been.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 22, 2020 / 4:22 pm

      Oh Glenn… frightening! I am so so glad you are home and doing better!!! Infections are nothing to mess around with! Stay safe; stay healthy! 🙂


  5. merrildsmith June 22, 2020 / 4:30 pm

    I didn’t know any of this. As you said, somehow all the pieces converged and worked together. Incredibly! And how sweet your haiku is. I can’t even imagine your relief to see him fine and home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 22, 2020 / 4:39 pm

      Oh yes. We are truly truly thankful for every day. We celebrated our 50th anniversary in February….well aware that we were truly blessed to share the day.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. rothpoetry June 22, 2020 / 4:34 pm

    In reality the most shining moments anyone can have involve love! This miraculous recovery has to definitely top them all! I am so happy for you and your husband and the quick and vital care he received at that time. Wishing you many more happy years together.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 22, 2020 / 4:43 pm

      I’d not thought about that…..the most shining moments involve love. That is really really true! My daughter and her family live about a 45 minute drive away. She came immediately that Monday and stayed with me all week. My son flew the red-eye from NC with his 18-month old daughter and arrived that Tuesday morning. His wife, who’d just had a double mastectomy in August flew Tuesday afternoon with her 4 and 6 year old. My husband’s brother arrived that same afternoon. One of us always had a hand on George – his arm or leg – every minute until he woke up / came back to us that Tuesday night. Love surrounded him – tethered him to this earth. Thankful for family. Thankful for George. Thankful for every day. And thankful for your kind wishes here.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Beverly Crawford June 22, 2020 / 4:44 pm

    What a beautiful shining moment, Lillian. And I’m sure now you find each day a shining gift!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 22, 2020 / 4:57 pm

      Exactly! Thankful for every day. I say that every day when I wake up with him by my side. We’ve truly been blessed with time.


  8. gillena cox June 22, 2020 / 5:32 pm

    Your haiku resonates the shining, so well.
    Happy Monday


    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 22, 2020 / 7:20 pm

      Thank you! We are thankful and joyful for each day we share! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. rivrvlogr June 22, 2020 / 5:35 pm

    Your haiku is perfect for the outcome of this harrowing moment in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 22, 2020 / 7:21 pm

      Thank you! We are truly thankful for every day…..actually, it is a privilege to grow old. I don’t understand why people complain about “getting older” – to me, it’s wonderful. The alternative is not good 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. calmkate June 22, 2020 / 5:50 pm

    sounds like the power of love … what a delightful result from a tragic event!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 23, 2020 / 8:33 am

      Oh yes….many tears were shed. The gamut of emotions in those five days – it was like a tidal wave. We truly are thankful for every day.
      It’s given us both a refreshed outlook on life. At 73, we often hear people say something to the effect of Oh I hate this or that about growing old. Or we get a particular ache in a knee or shoulder and we say something like, oh we’re just getting old. And I now ALWAYS answer that with “And aren’t we glad!” Truly. I am thankful to be growing older with my husband by my side. Let the years roll on! Bring it on! We have a pact to live until we are 94 and enjoy every moment. And if we’re blessed with more than that….that will be wonderful as well. Wrinkles? Stiffer knees? Gray hair? Hurrah! Aren’t we thankful for growing older! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Frank J. Tassone June 22, 2020 / 7:53 pm

    An experience of transcendance, perfectly evoked! I am happy and grateful for your husband’s recovery. Thank you for bearing witness to it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 23, 2020 / 8:35 am

      The drs at MGH say he is a walking miracle! And we are truly thankful for every day.


  12. Nancy Jahnke June 23, 2020 / 5:32 am

    My favorite story of all! A true miracle captured in this piece!!!

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 23, 2020 / 8:37 am

      Thank you, Nancy. What is not mentioned here is the support and prayers of all the family — the excellent medical care….so many angels along the way. At MGH, people look at his record and still marvel. He and Chris are both walking miracles and we are truly blessed. And truly thankful for every day. Love you, Nancy!


  13. areadingwriter June 23, 2020 / 9:15 am

    Oh dear, I cannot imagine the anxiety this event has given to you and your family. But like what was said before, the toughest trials are the sweetest testimonies. Felt your triumph and the joy of receiving the gift of life. Beautiful haiku as well, Lillian. Stay blessed!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Misky June 23, 2020 / 10:05 am

    Such a loving and life-affirming story, and how brave you must have been to cope with all this at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian June 23, 2020 / 11:05 am

      Not so certain about being brave….first shock and then absolute determination to keep him tethered to this earth. I refused to believe the doctors that he may never come back….and that if he did, he wouldn’t be himself. Maybe that was pure denial instead of bravery. I’ve always said, there were so many angels along the way. We are truly thankful for every day.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. lynn__ June 23, 2020 / 11:33 am

    What an amazing moment…praise God!


  16. Kenji Kojima June 23, 2020 / 1:54 pm

    Oh, what an fantastic recovery on George. I am really moved! I think not one person alone could have made him come back. I’m sure it must have been the total of all the love, prayer and devoted care of you, your family, timely help of your neighbours, ambulance staffs’ professionalism, MGH doctors/staffs’ teamwork power, etc. etc. and many Angels amalgamated together, plus your husband’s determined will for vitality even during his comatose.


  17. Dale June 23, 2020 / 3:07 pm

    Oh Lillian! What an amazing story and beautiful haiku.
    You were all so blessed!


  18. V.J. Knutson June 23, 2020 / 6:39 pm

    What an uplifting story. Blessings come at the most unexpected times.


  19. navasolanature June 25, 2020 / 4:43 pm

    Oh, Lilian, that is so moving, such a close call, and such a worrying time but am so glad he pulled through and with quality of life too to be with you all. Keep safe and well now.


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