Blog by Geralyn Nathe-Evens
Catholic United Financial member Geralyn Nathe-Evans is a licensed nurse with a master’s degree in pastoral ministry. Through her education, career practice and suffering the death of her own husband in 2014, Nathe-Evans is a compassionate, optimistic voice finding the glory and comfort of God in our most trying moments. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I survived an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest on January 15th of 2017. I am part of a small group who can say this, as only five percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests survive.
Anyone who has survived a life-ending or life-threatening event may tell you that it is only the beginning. The challenges of my survival are not limited to the physical. I have emotional, spiritual and psychological challenges to navigate.
The question of “Why?” continues to follow my days since that January 15 — I call this my “rebirth day”. I have been challenged and brought to tears and deep sadness over the reality of what happened, as well as what might have resulted.
The added thread to this tapestry is that I am a widow. I am surviving and living in a world that is not as safe, joyful or wonderful as life was with my beloved husband. But life is still very good.
I have learned — and continue to learn — how to forgive, to fight, to heal and to seek the blessings in many parts of my life. I continue to navigate the journey of being a survivor and recognize the gifts that are woven into this new life in which I have been blessed.
I take conscious steps to remind myself that I am not limited to nor defined by titles. I am more than a widow and more than a cardiac arrest survivor. The person that God has created me to be is so much more that those limiting and often painful reminders of my life story.
I have found healing, consolation and support in writing and sharing my thoughts, experiences and life story. I have been challenged and extremely uncomfortable with the vulnerability that that entails as well. To strive to be open and share my story and my experiences allows me to reflect and be very real about my life.
To share my story has provided me the opportunity to navigate the path of healing. To embrace the deep feelings of sadness, devastation, fear and recovery helps me to live each day.
I continue to learn to forgive. To forgive myself for all that I look back at and wish I had done in various ways. I need to continue to learn to forgive my body. I need to forgive my health that failed. And I at times need to forgive life itself for the seemingly unfair events I have experienced. I choose to name, recognize, forgive and celebrate. It is my path to inner peace.
Following my cardiac arrest, I found myself very depressed and unable to find purpose in life. I saw myself as a burden with little value. I needed an exercise to literally remind me of the gifts I still had rather than the reminders of what I had lost. I began to make a list each day of three blessings or reasons life was still good. This exercise allowed me to find any morsel of joy even when life seemed so difficult.
I was able to find blessings in the negative and that was instrumental in healing my body, mind, spirit and soul.
Believe n love,