Elder True DeMille

Elder True DeMille

Sunday, August 17, 2014

This one goes out to the one and only.

..It was a long, hard day at Ultimate practice. ..Yes, Ultimate Frisbee, (it's my jam.). Personal things set aside, I was conditioning hard and trying to get noticed by my coaches so that I could maintain my spot as middle handler on the starting team. We ran, threw, dove, tossed, and got dirty. It was incredible. When practice ended with jokes and laughs, I grabbed my things and got in my car, music up - on top of the world. As I got home, I noticed no cars were there, and thought about how nice and long my wonderful shower was going to be with a house all to myself. ..But, as I opened the door to an older sister in surprising hysterics, things got real very fast.

"Where have you been??!" My older sister, Phoenix asked, with tears streaming down her face. I assumed everyone knew where I was, and simply replied nonchalantly, "..Practice." wondering what in the world had gotten into her. She asked why I hadn't answered her calls, and as I pulled my phone out of my drawstring bag to prove her wrong, I found that I had over 14 missed calls, 6 missed messages, and 2 voicemails. Immediately humbled and quieted, my sister explained to me all that she could.

My mom had been taken to the hospital after having an incredibly painful headache. This headache, we later found out, was an aneurysm. With evaluations, summaries, and diagnostics from the medical teams at St. Mark's hospital and the University of Utah, we found out that my mother should have died the moment the blood vessel in her brain burst. ..But, let me back up a little bit. My sister and I drove to St. Mark's ER center, a facility I was somewhat familiar with since I was training and trying to certify as an EMT at the time, and kept our uncomfortable mom company while she underwent various tests and scans. They came to the conclusion that she had had an aneurysm - an occurrence where a blood vessel in your brain explodes, and with the blood pooling to the bottom of your brain, it stops the flow of natural, necessary fluids throughout your body, thus - making it impossible for you to live. We were told that we were lucky to still have our mother at this point - almost half of the people who experience an aneurysm die immediately when the vessel in their brain bursts. ..But we had made it this far.
We were told that she needed to be taken to the ICU at the University of Utah right away in order to undergo a few more texts, and probably be scheduled for emergency brain surgery. ..I don't know if things have ever turned more upside down in my life so quickly before.
Sure enough, we spent hours at the University with loved ones waiting to hear news. We called others, had a few people come to give her a Priesthood blessing, and waited. The next day, she underwent surgery, and with so many factors in play, and such a small percentage of success, I had no idea how to feel. I didn't want to be in the hospital. I didn't want to feel that it was real. After all of the hours I had spent training to become an experienced personnel in the medical field as an EMT, seeing my mother as the patient in the Emergency Room, and ICU changed everything for me. It was so incredibly surreal.
But, my mom beat the odds. She got past the some odd 50% who don't make it to the hospital. She beat the near 10% who don't quite cut it through surgery, and she continues to challenge those 3% who recover fully without any side-effects. My mother went through her own Gethsemane from 3 weeks filled with stitches, staples, so many IV's you wouldn't believe, and enough hospital food to make anyone give up, to constantly battling blood pressure and regular household activities weeks to months after she was able to come home. ..But she didn't quit. Those weeks - months - filled with unbelievable events and emotion, pushed all of us to our limits.
But it helped me make a decision I know I'll never regret.

In my English class this last week, my 40-60 year old students asked me two questions with our remaining time. They wanted to hear something great - something incredible - that had happened in my life, as well as why I became a missionary. Teaching with Elder Han, I asked if I could combine the two, and they were more than thrilled. I was able to share this tender story, that I hold close to my heart, and explain to them that honestly, I am out here because my mother is still alive. I know with all of my heart that this gospel is true, and because I am a missionary I have found and continue to find immeasurable happiness in sharing these truths - but before I came out here, I didn't have that desire to share. It just wasn't something that I felt I would give so much for - to spend so much time just hoping to have others hear about this church, this way of life. So instead, with all those lonely hours at home, all those hours in the hospital, and seeing how much my mom suffered so that she could return to live with us again, I decided that I would do it for her. I came out on a mission to show my Heavenly Father how thankful I am to still have this amazing person in my life, and to do whatever I could to pay Him back. I know it doesn't exactly work like that, but it was an opportunity to give all that I am to the Lord because He let me keep all that I am - which is my mother - for a little while longer.
Today, I am so grateful for another year with the most incredible human being that I have ever met and ever will meet. Thank you for never giving up mom. On me, or the Lord. Thank you for showing everyone that we can make it through our own Gethsemane, and that family is worth every ounce of sacrifice. I love you more than I could ever express. 
But know that these 2 years started because of you.
I love you mom.

Happy Birthday :)

Love, your son,

Elder True DeMille

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