A Mountain Climbed

Twenty years ago, I awoke from a coma in the I.C.U. For a week, I had relied on a respirator to support my life as heavy doses of antibiotics were pumped into my body. An open incision ran vertically across my stomach, they never closed it for fear that they might have to operate again. While in a coma, I missed my husband’s 40th birthday. My children, Lauren, who was about to turn 11 and Scott, who was about to turn 6, were at home in the care of family members. Another week after the coma was spent in the Cardiac Unit. While there, I wrote down the two things I needed to do with this second chance at life: 1. Finish raising my children. 2. Finally write the novel I had always known I would someday write.

Coming home from the hospital, it seemed like there was an almost insurmountable mountain that needed to be climbed. Slowly, I regained my health and my strength. Carefully, I nurtured and guided my children. And with great doubts about my ability, I began to write my first novel.

Now, my daughter will be graduating next month with her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Tulane University. My son just received his C.P.A. and is working for the largest international public accounting firm in the world. They each have found a wonderful person to spend their lives with as they weather life’s storms and as they share the joy discovered in life’s simple moments. My husband of thirty-seven years is still by my side and our love has only deepened through the struggles and accomplishments.

I am still hoping to someday be a traditionally published author. But I have self-published five novels, and each one has been greeted by an audience which has blossomed and grown. All though there have been many times I thought that I would not write another, I have begun to research my sixth novel. Perhaps this will be the one?

I have been granted these twenty years of life beyond what should have been my death and I have now reached the safety of the other side of the mountain. I can breathe more easily, knowing the goals have been met. My children are grown and my books have been written. I am grateful for the experiences, the people I have met, and the moments that have filled these extra years. Life does not go on forever and it seems I have recently lost so many people I have loved. This makes me think again of my own mortality. I hope that I have used this gift of time in a way that will leave my mark on the world. After all, isn’t that what we all want? So when my time finally does come, no matter how many years from now, I hope that through my children and my books, that you will remember me.

Theresa Dodaro

Author of The Tin Box Trilogy, The Porcelain Doll, and The Bayman’s Daugthter

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