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The Day I (almost) Died

Four years ago today

I (almost) died.

It was the night of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. I remember because I asked my husband to go home, get some rest, and make sure it was being recorded. It was also 08-08-08, a date forever seared into my mind.

I was living my life. Doing things my way. I had a job with goals. I dreamed dreams. We talked about God to the kids and went to church – when it was convenient. I trusted God in most things. Sure, there were rocky places, but things were going to work out, and they were going to work out the way I wanted them to. Isn’t that how it worked?

I put off my own health, as many mom’s do. A doctor told me surgery was the easy answer. It was just a little surgery. I would be home in 24 hours. Driving in two weeks. Ready to work when school started.

THEN – Something went wrong.

Very wrong.

My world crashed. Only one thing mattered – to stay alive. I wasn’t ready to leave my family. I didn’t want my daughters growing up motherless. So I fought.

The problems I thought I had – the things that stressed me out  before the surgery – all dissolved around me and I focused on healing. For my family.

I had lots of time to think about what was important. And what wasn’t.

After days in ICU and weeks in the hospital we thought I was on the mend.

Not yet. I was still sick. There were still lessons that needed to be learned.

Back in the hospital, back in ICU, two more weeks in the hospital before I finally could leave.  The best part – a hurricane was coming. Remember Ike? He was knocking on our door as they released me from the hospital. With attachments – a drain I had to keep clean and an IV I had to learn to use. And don’t forget the meds that required refrigeration.

In the midst of all of it – God never left my side. I remember one night in ICU. I was alone and scared. Bad news followed bad news. All my veins collapsed and my lungs were starting to. My kidneys were struggling. I couldn’t have any pain meds because they dropped my heart rate. Two surgeries and no pain meds. Ouch. Through the fog I couldn’t pray, instead I focused on something from my childhood. Jesus Loves Me was my song. My lifeline. My reminder to fight. During the night, nurses checked on me. When no one else was in the room, a figure stood by my bed. An Angel. A physical presence reminding me I wasn’t alone and God cared for me. When I couldn’t pray, the prayers were still there.

The realization that life is a blessing and can be taken away at any time changed my life. I resolved to no longer wait for the important things. The definition of important things changed. Instead of important things being my job and dreams, they became my kids. Important things for my kids were no longer what sport they participated in or what grades they made, but their heart condition and if the know what really matters. And what does really matter? Relationships, number one, our relationship with Christ.

I looked hard at my life and realized I wasn’t living up to the talents God had given me. I wasn’t teaching my children the important things. My legacy was lacking. I was doing convient things instead of kindom things. I was not building bridges. In fact, my bridges were in shambles.

I was given a second chance. I took hold of that chance and made changes. I still am.

About Kimberly Vogel

I am a mom of four beautiful daughters, a writer, and a certified Early Childhood and Elementary Teacher who recently made the switch from teaching in a classroom to teaching her children at home. I am often found in the children’s area of my church where I volunteer and lead a children’s program. Writing is a natural outpouring of my love for my Savior. Follow along while I share my journey as a bridge builder with you. My prayer is that you start building bridges too!

2 responses »

  1. So brave. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Wow. Brings back so many memories. I am so thankful God was by your side all the way and took care of you!


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