Sunday, January 4, 2015

Graduation and An Unexpected Christmas

The week before Christmas, Rachel and her boyfriend Kyle graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead. So proud of them! They both received education degrees, but have different paths in mind. Rachel will teach high school English and Kyle is pursuing a Masters in Public Health degree. So many exciting things to look forward to! We weren't able to make it to the actual graduation ceremony, but went up the weekend after to celebrate them and have an early Erickson Christmas. With our families being so far a part, we rotate holidays. It was a wonderful opportunity to squeeze in some Erickson Christmas fun, even though it was an 'off' year. Especially loved that we got to see Grandma Jayne and Grandpa Ken! They flew in from Arizona to be here for the graduation. We relaxed, played games, opened presents and took their new snowmobiles out for a spin. My family had a snowmobile growing up, but as soon as crazy winter sports schedules demanded most of our time, gone it went. It had been years since I'd ridden! We bundled up and took to the trails. Adam tipped our snowmobile while driving uphill in a ditch. We both rolled off and thankfully, he stuck his leg out to catch the snowmobile before it rolled down the embankment...One stuck snowmobile later and we all decided to head in for some hot chocolate {and Rum Chata of course}. Love taking advantage of Minnesota's snow! It was beautiful riding through the woods, passing rolling fields of white. 

Rachel and I

Adam and I

Rachel and Kyle

Grandpa Ken and Rach

The Tuesday before Christmas Eve, Adam was at my work for our company Christmas Party. We got a call from his mom during the middle of it saying that his dad was in the hospital with heart problems. Fast forward to early the next morning and we were all standing in his hospital room at Sanford Hospital in Fargo, listening to the surgeon's diagnosis. He would need open heart surgery within the next few days to fix two complete arterial blockages in his heart {double bypass}. He had initially gone into the emergency room with painful heartburn. Little did he know, he was actually having a heart attack when he arrived and also had one the weekend prior while we were all up north. It's easy to think about the 'what ifs'. It's harder to remember how thankful we were to be in the situation. Thankful for the quick response of the hospital. Thankful he listened to his body. Thankful for more time. 

We spent the next two days in Fargo with his family, simply waiting. We were able to attend a church service at Hope, lead by Pastor Paul {the officiant at our wedding}. It was wonderful catching up with him afterwards and letting him know that we were still pretty fond of each other ;) We unexpectedly joined Adam's extended family at Grandma Gladys' house on Christmas Eve. We only stayed a short time, but it was nice meeting a few new family members who didn't make it to our wedding. We managed to sneak Tim back a doggy bag of Swedish Meatballs. Such rule breakers, we are! Can you blame us? Who wants to eat bland hospital food on Christmas Eve...Early Friday morning we were all in Tim's room at 5:45am, praying for a safe and successful surgery. Surgery couldn't have gone better! Early that same afternoon we were able to see him. He was awake {a groggy state of awake}, but we were able to say hi and tell him everything was okay. The best Christmas present we could have asked for; a healthy heart for Tim. 

Hope Church
There is no one cause of heart disease, but there are several factors that can contribute. Smoking. It's not a secret that Tim had been a long time smoker and it's also not a secret that there are negative consequences. I write this paragraph, hoping that I can one day look back and remember that this was when change was made. This was when making heathy choices became a priority. I believe that the phrase 'old habits die hard' is very true. However, I pray that through this health scare he remembers the importance of his choices. I pray that our family is armed with a constant flow of supportive words. I pray that he values his health as deeply as we all do. 

It's an interesting feeling, stripping away all of the lights and glitter of Christmas. As I was in line at the hospital cafeteria on Christmas Day evening with my slice of pizza, it was beautifully eye opening. The true meaning of Christmas had never been lost on myself or my families, but it took this experience to realize that it's all we need. Remembering that on this day, our Savior was born. The reason we have eternal life. The reason we love. 1 John 4:19 'We love because he first loved us', will always be my favorite verse. We had love in that small hospital room, despite not having decorations or a tree. And that was enough. 

No comments:

Post a Comment