The moment in which nothing else matters

Everyone has a small fear, tucked away inside, that one day the sheriff will drive up to your house and knock on your door. And they will ask, “Are you Betty Smith? Mother of John Smith?” Waiting with fear for them to say, “I am sorry, but there was an accident…”

Or, what about a phone call, from the hospital, telling you that you need to come right away, that your husband has been brought in an ambulance, and they won’t tell you anything else.  That ride to the hospital is the longest ride.

At these kind of moments, everything in life stops. Nothing else is important. Not the weather, not who won the ballgame. Not even the matter of being unemployed or mad at your mother-in-law. Not even a house being foreclosed. The world comes to a stop until you know what has happened to your loved one.

I had a moment such as this.

In November, 2008, I got a phone call from my husband, but he sounded horrible. He said he was at the emergency room and could I come right away. He did not have his cell phone and could not talk long, and I was 45 minutes away. I had been shopping for furniture for my young adult daughter who was getting her own place. None of that mattered at that point.

I called my 17 year old son, who was much closer to the hospital and told him to rush and get there to be with his dad. This same son I had told 2 nights before that I was tired of his games, drugs and lies and he would have to move out if he didn’t straighten up. But none of that mattered at that point.

When I got the hospital, I was told there was bleeding in his brain and that they were going to take him in an ambulance to the city hospital 45 minutes away. I rushed home and threw an odd smattering of clothes and toiletries in a bag for he and I. That was so unimportant to me at that point, I am not even sure I knew what I was grabbing.

I drove to the hospital in the city, hoping to get some answers as to what was going on. And I had another moment where nothing else matters. The moment when they use the words brain aneurysm.

WAIT. People die from brain aneurysms. And I could hardly breathe.

They tell me that he is lucky. That he is stable. They have to watch him, keep him medicated to keep from having a stroke or a repeat aneurysm (happens 50% of the time with 7 days). That they will be drilling a hole in his skull to relieve the pressure. They tell me that we will be in ICU for 14 days in the hospital for at least 21 days.

It was November 30 and I had only bought 2 Christmas presents. But none of that mattered.

This is all that mattered. My husband survived a brain aneurysm with no lasting effects. 

If you are struggling in life, it is moments like these that help you to remember what TRULY matters. I pray that during this holiday season, you will remember what REALLY MATTERS.

Thanks for reading about our story. I always get super sentimental around his aneurysm anniversary. If you want to read a different version of this personal story, read My special season of Thanksgiving

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7 comments to The moment in which nothing else matters

  • Kim

    I am so fortunate to have found your website today!! I celebrated an anniversary of my own yesterday which has given me that perspective of what truly matters. One year ago, I was told I had a malignant brain tumor and underwent surgery the following week to remove it. A couple days before Christmas, I received the call (my own Christmas miracle) to tell me that the mass was benign. This last year has been a gift and I feel so blessed to be given this opportunity to heal and reflect…and still be a mom to my 2 children. This is an emotional time and, at 2 months post-op from a 2nd brain surgery, I am working on discovering this new normal and remembering who I was, who I am and who I am becoming. By God’s grace, I will keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep trying to be the best me I can be.
    Thank you for sharing your inner workings…taking life one step at a time is exactly what I needed to remember today!!
    ~Kim

  • I read only the title: The moment in which nothing else matters and remembered the call that came in the middle of the night, telling me my beloved — the love of my life in the story thus far — had died. Of a brain aneurysm. That was the moment that came immediately to mind. Then I read the rest of your post and shed a few cathartic tears. You are, as you recognize, very VERY lucky, Bernice. (I am lucky, too, because I had my love for 8 glorious years. But I still miss him., especially at this time of year. He was a Christmas baby.)

  • I’m all teary. My brother-in-law is still in ICU right now, with a brain injury. No Christmas shopping is happening over there. Nothing else matters. Nothing else is important. We have heard he will live. We have been told he will get some better. Wow! Out of the blue, life stops.
    Rosemary

    bernicewood Reply:

    Oh Rosemary, I am so sorry! I will pray that he recovers quickly! It IS amazing how we can be fretting about so many things wondering how we can get through our day and our “struggles” and then BOOM, it becomes a non-issue, when you have a moment like this. HUGS!

  • Jennifer

    Good thing everything turned out well. I was a bit worried that the ending would be sad. You know what you have to do and ignored the things that don’t matter at the moment. I know what I have to focus now. Thank you for sharing this story.
    Jennifer recently posted..How To Attract WomenMy Profile

  • Oliver

    I admit that I was a bit curious on how things turned out. I am glad your husband is okay and suffering no effects at all. You made it clear how important it is to focus on the thing that matters. Things can have better results when attended one at a time. Another thing I like about it is it lessens the confusion as well. Thank you for sharing and hope you can visit me at derivatives.

  • Nick

    Many thanks for this article. It reminds me, to remind myself, to be constantly mindful of this ultimate truth-test: The thing I’m doing right now, the thing I’m worrying about – does it REALLY matter!?

    I recall the day we found out my wife would die from cancer. Nothing else mattered, only being together in that moment. In the conversation that followed about what I should do in the future, we found, almost magically, that very little in life really mattered. “Look after the children, try to be happy”. That was it, because that was all that REALLY mattered. All the rest is just varying levels of trivia and mind-junk.

    A subtle re-reminder every so often is a good thing, it makes you pause and ask yourself that simple but important question: “Does it really matter?” or has trivial thinking and trivial living started to creep back in.

    Thank you for that gentle reminder :-)