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Lily’s Heart – Gratitude for Life

Updated: May 31, 2023




Lily’s Heart Pastel Portrait by Kim McElroy



They say life turns on a dime , whatever that means . It has certainly proven to be true for me, as many of the most difficult times in my life have happened suddenly. My father had passed away of a heart attack suddenly a month before , He lived in my hometown of Long Beach, California , so I traveled to California with my husband, Rod, to be with my family for my Father’s memorial Little did I know I almost joined him in heaven.


Despite the sad occasion, it was wonderful to have a reunion with my family including my cousin who I'd grown up with was like a sister to me. We decided to go to Disneyland to celebrate our favorite childhood adventures.


It was wonderful to see Disneyland again through the eyes of an adult. After several rides and a lovely afternoon, we had a delicious lunch with my favorite Monte Cristo sandwich in the blue bayou restaurant near the Pirates of the Caribbean. Afterward, we plan to ride the Indiana Jones ride. As we stood in line, the announcement came that the ride had a slight malfunction and there would be a delay. As I stood there talking with She later said I just went pale and suddenly collapsed to the ground with what they later determined was a heart attack caused by a ventricular fibrillation.


Miraculously – an EMT was in line nearby on vacation with his kids, and when Rod called for help he came to my rescue and kept me breathing while the paramedics were on their way. The quick response from the emergency teams was incredible. It turns out that Disneyland is full of staff tunnels and I happened to be standing right by an access door. There are so many miracles that happened that day. If I had been on the ride I wouldn’t have made it.


I was rushed to a nearby hospital. The cardiologists determined that my heart was actually healthy but for some unknown reason an undiagnosed arrhythmia caused an extra beat which overlapped and caused the fibrillation.


The experience was so traumatic for Rod. For over 24 hours he didn't know if I was going to live or die. He was out of his element, didn't even know how to navigate back to the hotel, and regardless, didn't want to leave. He spending the night in hospital chairs and anxiously waiting for news, until one kind nurse found him after the most critical steps have been taken and she said, your wife's brain appears to still be functioning. Though she's unconscious she's fighting, literally swinging her arms around . I think she's going to be fine. "


I was released from the hospital on Monday June 4th . Rod and I had purchased my father's car from his estate. Literally the car he had died in . I'm sure his angel accompanied us as we had a long drive home, but we took advantage of the time to enjoy the coast Hwy 101 and stayed in some beautiful oceanfront hotels while I recovered from the heart attack and the surgery to install a defibrillator.


When I envisioned the attached art for Lily’s portrait, the images of a rainbow and a field of yellow grass came into my mind's eye. As I worked, I chose the title "Lily's Heart". It wasn't until after creating the portrait that my husband pointed out that the rainbow was actually coming from her heart, and that the pattern of lighter grass under her feet also formed the shape of a heart. These occurrences remind me that the process of inspiration is sometimes as much for me, as it is for my clients.


I hope you will take a moment today and give someone or yourself a hug, life is so precious.


Kim on the Oregon Coast - Going Home

Kim on the Oregon Coast – Going Home



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