Stayin’ alive

One year ago today, I died. A couple of times, if you want to get technical about it. During one 20-minute stretch, I believe I had a somewhat lengthy conversation with whatever Great Spirit each of us believes in, about the pros and cons of staying dead or coming back to life. I'm not sure which of us advocated living, but that was the side that won.

And so began a journey of recovery that the doctors tell me will take at least two years. Sometimes I feel like I take one step forward and 10 steps back as I struggle to define what heart attack survivors call my “new normal.”

Recently I was clearing up some paperwork that had accumulated in my living room, in anticipation of getting a new couch. I am optimistic that Deacon, at three-and-a-half years old, has lost his appetite for upholstery and it is now safe to get a new couch. Just in case I am wrong, I am not getting a very expensive couch. But, the point is that I found a pile of cards and letters that had been sent to me last May. I hesitated a second before going through them, concerned that they might bring back the very frightening feelings that populated my thoughts at the time. But you know me, I had to look! And I am so very, very glad that I did.

Many of them were from you, readers of The Citizen, some of whom I have never met in person. There were cards and notes from individual elected officials from almost every municipality, and group missives from entire governing bodies, fire companies and administrations. You expressed sympathy and concern, and prayers for which I am so very grateful. Many of you told me that I was needed in our community, both personally and professionally.

Perhaps more than anything, I needed to read all those cards and letters again at this time. Having just gone through a particularly ugly Bellevue election, I needed to be reminded why I get up every morning and go to work on this newspaper. I can't do all the things I once could do, a fact that pains me constantly, but I can try to be a voice for those of you who love the North Boroughs and its people as much as I do.

So, thank you for inspiring me not once, but twice. There are always going to be people who choose ugliness and hatefulness over kindness and compassion. Fortunately, I know many, many more people who fall into the latter group. Thank you for being part of the reason why I choose to live.