What I Learned From Almost Dying & How it Influences My Art
Sometimes people ask how I got started as an artist and although I’ve always been one at my core, my decision to launch a professional career came about from a very profound moment in my life. Ready for a doozy?
In 2013 I gave birth to my daughter, Edie. She is larger than life in every way, so I can’t say I was surprised she came into this world at a hefty 11 pounds. I’m petite and this undertaking, while worth it, resulted in a massive hemorrhage after a c-section that I can only describe as painful...and memorable.
I lost my entire blood volume and ended up with a hysterectomy. The medical staff conducted multiple surgeries to save my life and in the end told my husband they weren’t sure he’d be going home with me at all and to prepare himself. We had an 18 month old at home and now a newborn, to say he was terrified would be an understatement.
I came to days later in the ICU with tubes down my throat and a machine doing my breathing for me. I had blood transfusion tubes sewn into my carotid artery as well as another into my left arm. My lungs had been filled with fluid and I didn’t have much strength. I convinced the staff to remove the tubes for my breathing after another 24 hours and at that time was finally lucid enough to be able to see my husband.
When I saw him we both felt the weight of all that had happened and had one of those moments where you stop the chaos and time slows and you really “see” each other. I told him this was a good time to talk about what would have happened had I died.
I told him I’d be there in spirit for every event in his and the kids' lives and asked him to do me a favor on holidays and birthdays. “Set a place at the table for me, and when you look over, know that I'm sitting there.” He cried and asked me to do the same for him if his time was first.
After a long stay in the hospital, I was able to go home. You learn in a moment like this that no authority gives you a note saying “You suffered a good amount so are exempted from future trauma.”
You never know what the future holds. I looked at my life and was pleased with all decisions I’d made except one: never really giving it my all at an art career. I once heard a quote by Wayne Dyer, “Don’t die with your music still in you.” I made my decision that day to commit to this new career once Edie was old enough to go to preschool. And here I am. Sometimes scared, but never sorry. And always surrounded by loving and kind friends, family and now wonderful art fans.
I look forward to each day and the beauty it holds, because you cannot take it for granted. You’ll see my interpretation of that beauty in every piece I create. It's filtered through my own unique lens, just as your life experience is filtered through yours.
Well, thank you for listening. I’ve really enjoyed sharing this story with you, and I sincerely hope it encouraged or inspired you in some way today. Have you had a defining moment like this? I’d love to hear it.