On Valentine's Day, which is sort of a family event these days- the weather was unseasonably warm so we decided to venture onto the mountain. Up the road from us is the trailhead for Mt. Olympus. I hiked this mountain in 2002. To the top. The south summit of Mt. O brings you 4050 above the trailhead, the summit being 9026 feet in elevation. With Jack, we made it just a few hundred feet up. But he wanted to keep going. As a true, passionate hiker, it warmed my heart to see his love for it and his desire to keep going and most of all, his strength.
Of course, we didn't summit this mountain. Though I hope to someday. I think that will be an incredible accomplishment for Jack. 9026 should be a sufficient elevation for his oxygen needs. But he does get a little worried about the "monster's in the caves"...
"Let's keep going dad!"
"Come on guys!"
Do you want to turn back around, Jack?
"No, let's keep going!"
He would march up that trail and never stop unless we did, we may have taken more breaks than he did. Granted, he did get carried a lot due to rocky terrain, but if it were up to him, he would have done it all himself.
This is one of those moments that I can actually visualize the future, and see our family hiking together, Jack on his own, with aged strength and ability. It will be so wonderful to do these things together as a family without worry.
ON A SECOND NOTE:
Last night we had the opportunity to attend Paul Cardall's "Celebration of Life" concert at Abravanel Hall, thanks to our dear friends. This was safely one of the most inspirational concerts I have ever attended. (Those who know me know I've attended a LOT of concerts..)
Paul stood there with a whole new heart pumping inside his body and did nothing but thank other people for their strength, their faith, and their love.
When you go through something like our family has, you think you've gone through every possible scenario, good or bad. But it wasn't until last night that I actually thought to myself, "What if it weren't Jack with this heart problem? What if it were Josh?"
When it is your child, you stand side by side with your spouse and hold to each other for strength and support. When one buckles, the other is there to hold them and vice versa. If you need a moment to cry, or fall apart, there is another person to sit with your child and care for them while you can't. If it were my husband, I don't know how I could possibly have it inside of me to stay strong. Paul's wife Lynnette had to be strong for her husband, AND her daughter. She couldn't go fall into her daughter's arms and ask her if everything would be ok, and ask her to help her see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I have nothing but respect and admiration for this woman and all she has been through. And she deserves nothing more than to stand next to her husband today, that has been through hell and back to get a heart that will sustain him, keep him with his family and allow him to go on to do amazing things and inspire thousands of people.
Last night was so emotional for me. I saw many people that I spent hard days with in the hospital, and their strength during my hard times helped me more than they'll ever know. And if I didn't have my husband by my side I'd be lost. He truly is my source of family strength.
Jack knows what he's been through. He actually looks back at his times in the hospital fondly. He'll place his hands on his heart and say to me "remember my heart? at the hospital?" and he knows he is better and that he was fixed by very special people.
I hope last night brought the same amount of spirit and love to everyone else that it did me, and I thank Paul for bringing this all together. His story truly is a miracle and I am so happy for him and his family.
I hope that the important message about CHD's can be spread, and we can further the progress.