Wednesday, November 5, 2014
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Fear. It’s all around us. It finds a way inside, lodging deep within, refusing to surrender. It latches on, following you on this path called life. The way it makes our bodies tremble through our core, perspire with one thought, or makes our hearts feel as if they’re coming to a standstill, causing all blood flow to rush from our head to our toes. It’s the one word that can instantly cause our breathing to become slow and labored, stirring up the worst emotions within.
Suddenly my chest becomes too tight to bear. My legs go numb and my arms feel weak. My heart is beating too fast and, no matter how much I pray for it to slow, and the tight pain to go away, it doesn’t.
I’m gasping for air. “My chest. It’s too tight.” I claw at my shirt, as if I could rip it off. The once soft fabric now feels like fire, burning away my flesh.
“Mom, I don’t think she’s okay!”
“I can’t breathe. My ... tight … the pain … it won’t stop. I can’t feel my arms, or …” Oh my God, this is it.
I fall to my knees.
“Is she having a heart attack?” Panicky, Genna stands and yells for my dad.
Every dream I’ve had, every sense of hope—everything I’ve feared is burning them away right before my eyes.
It’s easy to forget what matters most when you’re distracted by your deepest fear, which, in my case, is leaving behind everyone I cherish most. Sometimes it’s the most disturbing thoughts that tunnel their way to your core and hold on, no matter how hard you try to shake them.
The afterlife doesn't scare me. The unknown can be magical when you really think about it. The beauty of possibility.
There are muffled voices around me, yelling and screaming, but my eyes are frozen. I can’t move my head to see who’s speaking. I can’t even be certain where I am at the moment.
I begin to feel like I’m floating and it’s then that I realize I’m being put on a stretcher. There are two men yelling. Why are they yelling? Are they yelling at me?
A cold rush of air startles me as a mask is put over my face. It’s the first time I get a deep, fulfilling breath since this all started.
“You’re going to be okay. Keep your eyes open for me, okay?” one of the men instructs, leaning close to my face.
I try to nod, but he shakes his head. “Don’t try to move.” I go cold, every limb gone numb. Then, pain.
I don’t think I've ever felt so much pain in all my life. It’s as if a hundred men are standing on top of me, stabbing my chest with razor-sharp knives. I swear, with each jab of pain I can hear the crack of the blades stabbing deeper inside of me, slowly ripping me apart. Then the pain pierces my heart and I cry out.
“Someone needs to call Parker!” Genna screams.
The men start running and I feel like I’m flying. The wind washes over me and it’s almost calming.
My surroundings go blurry as I’m lifted. Everything is happening so fast. My shirt is ripped open and freezing stickers are placed on my chest.
Cries fill my ears, drowning out the loud banging from the men moving around. I don’t know where I am, but when I hear my mom say, “Parker, its Aundrea. We’re going to the hospital,” I let my eyes drift closed and just pray the pain will stop. And that Parker will get to me before it’s too late.
I am the mother of two little boys, married to the love of my life, and living in one of the smallest towns in Minnesota. When I’m not chasing or cleaning up after my boys (yes, all three), I can be found writing or snuggled up with my kindle, a glass of wine, and spending time with my fictional friends and family.
Life works in mysterious ways.
Four years ago I became known as the girl with cancer.
I refuse to cry.
And I refuse to give in.
A relationship with a man is the last thing I’m looking for right now, but one night with Parker changes everything. He is persistent, and he knows what he wants.
He doesn’t treat me like I’m fragile.
But he doesn’t know, and I’m not ready to tell him.
What if it changes everything?
Tragedy found me when I was seventeen.
Love found me when I was twenty-one.
My name is Aundrea McCall, and this is my journey.