I won’t bore you with the details, but I almost died in 2011. May 14th is my Anniversary Day.

No, I did not refuse to go towards the light nor was I floating over my body or anything else like that. I just lived.

When The Doctor told me that he wasn’t sure I would survive surgery I remember saying “do you say that to everyone or is this a get-your-family-here-to-say-goodbye kind of thing?” He looked me straight in the eyes and replied with “Get your family here.”

I called my sister. That was a tough one, as our own mother died when she was only 11 and we had weathered that together. I called a friend and left a message that we now laughingly refer to as the “kiss-off call.” Some family and friends came to visit.

And I spoke to my sons. Not sure the exact words but I feel like I said be good, take care of each other and everything would be fine. I hope it was meaningful. We don’t talk about what I said but if I mention it, I always get a hug. I wish I had been more prepared.

Luckily, with the skills and ingenuity of The Doctor and nothing short of a miracle, I lived. Had I died that weekend I would have missed so much good stuff. And although I would have been spared some bad stuff too, I still would take it over the alternative.

In my 50+ years, I have learned a lot, made more mistakes and errors than I want to remember, earned some achievements and made a few accomplishments, filled my life with amazing relationships, and even raised my kids a little … all the while, getting shorter, grayer, more wrinkled and a little worse for the wear. I am grateful and I will take it all. Some never get this far.

So, if the same situation were to be presented to me now, I would know what to say this time to my sons, my sister, my friends and to you.

“Life is good and short. I have had a fantastic life so don’t cry for me. Pick a good partner in life, give more than you take and try to make the world a better place.”

Aunty Jen

Aunty Jennifer Corder, an Arizona native, is co-owner of Kajukenbo Arizona with her husband Professor Kelly Corder, and sons Sifu Nicolas and Sibak Cameron. She graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Family Resources and Human Development. She is a black belt in Kajukenbo with over 15 years of martial arts and self-defense training. She and her husband also founded Redrock Software Corporation in 1991 and enjoys working with her family in both businesses.