There was time, either during or after that surgery, while I was still unconscious, that I felt a powerful ... something. Energy? Thought? God? I was aware of having a choice. I could relax into the darkness forever, or I could fight and struggle and go back to my known reality, which, to be frank, wasn't very pleasant at that point in time. My marriage was crumbling, my commitments were overwhelming me, and I had failed to set up much of a support system so I felt quite alone.
I was strongly leaning toward letting go. I was so tired, and everything hurt, and was life really this difficult? Would it be the same for many years to come? Did I still want to do it? Then a vision or thought or awareness of my baby girl came to me, and I felt as though a voice told me to stop indulging in the thought of giving up -- I had children who needed me, a daughter who I loved beyond all reason, and I still had a lot of work to do in this life. I couldn't tell you if it was my subconscious or God or what, and I didn't need to know what it was. I just needed to fight and wake up, so I did.
Later I was told that my mom had been sitting at my bedside until I woke up quite some time after the surgery, talking to me about my kids, especially Katie, and how my little girl needed me to get through this. I wasn't surprised.
Since then I have always called Katie my precious little angel. That wasn't the only time I credit her with saving my life. Many times through single-parenting, poverty, illness, and discouragement, I had only to think of Katie and I would received a new burst of determination. She tells me now that she feels the same way about me, that in the darkest suicidal depression, she would be aware of how devastated I would be if she took her life, and that was enough to pull her from the edge.
She and I have both been too close to death too many times. It's not pleasant to remember or write about. Sometimes I feel ashamed. But mostly I feel overpowering gratitude. Katie is and will always be my angel.
What happens to people who have lost all their loved ones, who have been forgotten and left with nothing? What happens to the homeless people who, even if they're clean now, had drug or alcohol problems that used up everything their families had to give? What happens when these people get sick or face life-threatening dangers? They don't have any angels, so who saves them?