Family First: Surviving a Life Changing Event

We knew that this day might always come. Somehow even as I sat in the waiting room though, it seemed surreal. I had played this scenario over in my head a million times, and yet nothing truly prepared me. My husband is only 40 years old, and yet there I sat waiting to hear the latest update on his heart surgery. Nothing can prepare you for this roller coaster of emotions, particularly when you have young children to take care of in the process.


My husband was born with a heart condition, and we knew that surgery might happen someday. Even though you recognize it’s a possibility, I can tell you from our experience that you never really accept that it will be reality. When we got the news that he would need this heart surgery, it hit both of us like a ton of bricks. I knew that I had to stay strong for both of us—and that I had to help our kids through this emotionally charged situation.

Support and Well Laid Plans Kept Me Sane

I suppose I’ll say that I went into “go mode” throughout the process. I knew that there were things that had to be done for my husband, my kids, our new puppy, the house, and just the everyday responsibilities. I focused my attention on all of that, mostly because then I wouldn’t give into the temptation to sob inconsolably.

When you are trying to prepare your family for something so big, it really helps to be organized. First and foremost, this helped me to figure out the logistics and arrangements for the kids each day that my husband was in the hospital. It also gave me the opportunity to throw myself into plans and preparation—then I didn’t have much time to focus on just how scary this really was.

I knew that I had to lean on family and friends to make it through this too. He needed me to be with him at the hospital, but my kids still had to get to school. They still needed homework done, lunches made, and they still needed all the support that they have come to know each and every day. Without the love and help of my family and friends this would have been impossible! My very best advice for making it through something this big is to lean heavily on your support network.

It helped to lay out all of the logistics, even having a friend dedicated to letting our new puppy outside. I had my moments of panic, but it was mostly about the surgery and his recovery specifically. With my friends and family by my side, and with the detailed plans in place, it made this emotional situation so much easier to get through.

Family Comes First Always But Especially At a Time Like This

I also felt that my job was to be there to support our kids. They had anxiety that they couldn’t even identify or understand at the ages of 5 and 7. I had to be there to help them see that Daddy was going to be just fine. I helped them through their range of emotions, calmed their fears, and did my very best to keep things as “normal” as possible. Fortunately I have really great kids, but this was certainly something I had to keep on top of.


Nothing can truly prepare you for a major life changing event, but going into it with a positive attitude helped greatly. I never knew how strong I was until we made it through this. I am happy to say that he’s doing well, and that our family made it through this chapter with ease. I feel so incredibly blessed that all is well and that this is behind us, but I hope to help others who may be struggling with a similar situation.

You never know what you are capable of until you go through it. If you find yourself facing a health scare or a life changing event, then you will likely go into action. Staying positive, putting your family at the forefront, and thinking through all of the details helped tremendously. This kept our family on track and ensured that I didn’t allow myself to slip into the scary world of “what ifs”.

We are so happy that he’s doing well, and we now use this as something positive to focus on moving forward.


With support, planning, and a positive mindset, you truly can make it through anything—and we’re now living proof of that very concept!

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Hi Detroit Moms! I’m Mary Frederick and I am a mom just like you, with a very down to earth and often humorous view of this crazy role of motherhood. I am mommy to a 6 year old daughter (Faith) and an almost 4 year old son (Colin). My kids are my life, but I also insert a whole lot of humor and realism into my life to be a better person. I am a freelance writer, and have been very lucky and blessed to turn this into a full time career since my daughter was born. I love spending time with my kids and am very involved with all of their activities and school. In addition to mama duties I also love entertaining, cooking, traveling, writing, trying new workouts, and having a little vino with my mama friends.


  1. This is an inspiring piece Mary! I know this was scary especially with the what ifs. Fred and your wonderful children are lucky to have such a clear headed and rational person like yourself. Keep on keepin on lady…


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