Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI

At twenty six, she was taking care of her children when a nagging chest pressure forced her to stop everything. At times there are sharp and fleeting pains that one can dismiss, a fluttering that can be blamed on caffeine; but Joan felt like an anvil was sitting on her chest, and moving onto her next task as a mom became impossible.

There are youngsters that make it to the cardiac catheterization lab with heart attacks, some with drug problems, but Joan was clean.

She contemplated calling 911, but what about her children? Friends and family were called so that someone could take care of them. Only when she secured their safety, did she call 911, but by then time was expiring and the “golden hour” of 90 minutes of opening a heart artery was being tampered.

Joan’s unconditional love for her children surpassed the care she desperately needed. The sacrifice she displayed can be called foolish by some as it jeopardized her life, but you couldn’t convince her otherwise. And her willingness to tolerate intense pain until those she loved were cared for captivated us all. Like a mother hen in danger, with her wings covering her chicks, Joan would not relent.

How far are we willing to go to sacrifice? In a world of entitlement and “my life for me”, we’re quite content to feed our bellies and coast as far as we can. Oh, yes, and if I win the lottery, I’ll give all my money away to those in need. Right. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,” are the words of Christ, who suffered on the cross and rose on the third day, making sure that those he loved, the entire world, were covered, cleansed of their past iniquities, giving up His own life so we can have new life if we chose to accept Him.

Joan is better now. Her heart will bounce back and we may not remember her day in the cath lab, but I hope we never forget her sacrificial love for her kids. And this Easter I hope that you’ll remember that in your pain, there is a God who loves you so much that He suffered for you. He bore the wounds, so you and I can bear the healing. He took on death, so you and I can live. And He rose on the third day, so you and I can overcome.