You had the best plans for this year right?
The beginning of the year you set out with all these dreams of “This year..this is my year”.
You felt optimistic. You felt inspired. You had had some things that didn’t go your way the last few years, and you felt like everything you had been through was leading you to this point. This moment. Your moment. Life was going to change directions.
You could all but hear the Angels singing their chorus in celebration of you.
Game on girl. You got this.
You did you vision boards. You did your year planner. You declare it on social media. “This is going to be a frickin’ great year”. And you believe it. You completely consume yourself with dreams of how it is going to go.
It’s chock a block filled with the stuff you love.
You don’t action anything until February because you know from past experience that January is just a right off.
So everything is #February.
The next thing. The next adventure. The next. The next.
February comes and goes.
Now it is #March. And then you get injured. Debilitated. In excruciating pain. And so all your focus is on getting through each day. Each fucking painful day.
But your plans? Your perfect plans. What happens to them?
“It’s okay”, you say to yourself, “You can still make it, the year is long”.
So you stay focussed on all the stuff you love. All the stuff you want to do.
Then things take a turn and you are in so much pain that you cannot see of be anything other than the person in so much pain. White hot pain. Pain so intense that you just need to escape it.
Bowen therapy. Acupuncture. Naturopathy. Osteo. Chiro. Physio. Kahuna. But the pain persists. Cold light therapy. Psychology. Medication. Pain. Escalating. Stronger medication. Constipation. Mind fuck.
Welcome to the last resort. Surgery.
Spinal surgery no less. The spine where all that important stuff lies. In there. Deep.
You are so afraid of the outcome..more afraid than you have been before…but you are so desperate to relieve the pain that you are willing to put your entire well being in the hands of someone else you hope to fuck has a decidedly impressive skill in this operating on spine department.
You have the operation.
In the recovery room, you wake crying and not because you see a big fish staring at you from the wall. The nurse asks why you are crying, to which you say, “I made it out alive…I thought I was going to die”.
You are grateful that the universe didn’t respond to your call to “End this pain, I don’t care if it is my life that ends”.
You notice that that white hot pain has disappeared. That you don’t have that psychosis inducing distraction ripping through your body.
And you exhale.
And recovery begins.
And for a moment you look at the rest of the year. “The year is long, there is still time”.
As you prepare to leave the hospital you begin dreaming about what to do when you fully recover. What adventures. What creations.
And then as you are about to leave, you hear your child is really unwell.
“Must be gastro”, you say.
Few days later you realise that this isn’t gastro when finally your baby isolates the pain to the lower part of her abdomen. And because you can’t drive you call your husband to take your girl to the same hospital that you have just left.
You feel pain again! This time the pain feels different. It is a deep gut pain. A deeper heart pain. Your baby. Your child is in pain now. This is a new pain that overtakes your body. And for a split second you wish you could take all your pain back so you r baby doesn’t have to feel that pain.
In a few hours she would follow your hospital bed wheel marks and she will be looking around a sterile room with a bunch of unfamiliar faces looking at her. Asking the same questions over and over and over.
You’ve just had spinal surgery, so you can’t sit. You have to stand until you can’t stand anymore and then you have to go and lay down.
Wherever you can.
Including the floor of the hospital.
Laying on the floor of the waiting room. You’re not alone and you think ‘thank fuck for that or I would be a risk to myself”.
2 hours pass. Your gut is flipping with fear. Anxiety takes it’s grip and your mind starts to envisage all of the worst case scenarios. And they are bad. All of them.
Finally, on the brink of charging the operating theatre to ask ‘what the fuck”? and make sure they are doing everything right, he appears.
The guy who may have just saved your child. Restored them at the very least.
He shows you all the pictures he has taken of inside your baby. These pictures are not worthy of any wellness magazine. More like the first screen shot of a horror film.
It’s messy in there.
But she made it through and you exhale and cry.
The best days are still ahead. You know this.
You battle to visit your baby girl because you aren’t able to drive because of your back. It is still healing from surgery. You feel helpless. You feel challenged. You feel exhausted. But you carry on.
Your family bumbles along and you are supported by earth angels who drive you around, make meals for you and your family to eat. Clearly someone has noticed how much weight you have put on through all of this stuff and you even get a Weight Watchers Risotto in the mix. Once you would have cared. Now you just laugh.
You weren’t to know, but the next wave was building and was about to hit your family again.
That same bubba girl begins to deteriorate again.
It’s a blur and before you all know it you are back at that same hospital.
“I’ve reviewed the ultrasound and she has 2 abscesses that need to be drained”.
“More surgery?” you all sing.
And the wheels turn again.
The bed moves into the sterility.
The fear isn’t as fierce. You worry that you aren’t more afraid. You worry you should be more scared.
You exhale and surrender. You trust.
The waiting beings. Again.
You have a room to lay down in and wait this time. So no laying on the ground in the waiting room.
It’s just you and your rock. Your support person. The person that you spent years not really allowing to step up and be supportive of you, because you were so used to be the strong one. The independent one.
And you both wait. Waiting again for the face of the doctor and this time hoping the images he takes aren’t as gruesome.
You talk about your other bubba’s and take a moment to be grateful for how amazing they are as well. Pulling together and supporting their sister.
You reflect on how gutsy your kids are. Their individual knock downs and their stand ups. Their emotional whacks and their strength and vulnerability.
You both realise how blessed you are and wonder how you got so lucky.
The call comes to visit your girl in the recovery room. No one else is there except your baby and the nurses attending to her. Taking her temperature. Feeding her lemonade ice block. She’s crying. She’s in pain. You desperately want to take that pain again.
You feel bad for ever complaining about your own pain. It seems so small in comparison to seeing your baby in pain. You hold the tears back with all of your might. Tears that for the last 4 months you have just let flow.
But you hold them. For her. She has seen you cry so many times now. And you hold it. Just. Knowing that soon she will be asleep again and you can release the pressure.
And then she sleeps. And you watch her precious face. Face of an angel. An angel that feels the heaviness of being a human. You know intimately how that feels.
And you cry.
She wakes in pain. She independently presses the buzzer for he nurse. “I have a lot of pain. 6 out of 10. Can I have something to help my pain please”?
And she gradually feels better. The drip machine makes noise and when before she didn’t hear it because of her pain and daze, she hears it and complains. You know she is improving. You sense your body relaxing. It’s been well tense.
Nurse after nurse pours love and support over our family. With each medication delivery, bed pan, sips of water to each firm encouragement to get up and moving, you feel supported and encouraged.
The best days are still ahead…maybe? Surely.
And just like the day you brought her home form the hospital after she was born, you take the driveway exit really gently not to cause too much shock movement in the car. To startle her body. Inhaled.
The storm has passed and the waves have retracted.
Multiple games of UNO ensue. You lose and you love it.
You bathe in the joy that your baby is better. Is getting stronger. And goes back to school.
And in the quiet you realise that the 2017 plan was never going to offer you what you expected.
You in fact, were gifted with so much more than you expected.
You wanted to have the opportunity to connect in deeper and more raw way with your family. Could you have had a better opportunity?
You see that you could never have organised a better way to deepen the connection with your husband.
You notice that your tribe are your tribe for a reason.
You bathe in the love that folks have poured out via messenger, Facebook, SMS, and phone calls and see how loved and supported you are.
You acknowledge that it is still your growth area to ask for support and are willing to practice more…even in the times outside of the storms.
You recognise that you are still releasing pain and cleaning up some of the debris from the storm, but you are in no rush to do so. The busy has been weeded out.
You have the experience of sitting in the pain. Right deep in it. And you didn’t run. You didn’t beat yourself up (much). You felt it as much as you could and allowed yourself to step away from it as well. You were actually practicing being brave.
You thank pain and bid it farewell. Thank you for your visit.
And just as you are about to attempt to return to your ‘usual’ life, the specialist says, “I fear there is another collection in her abdomen. She’ll need another ultrasound and more blood tests…..”.
You relax into it. You don’t fight it. And maybe it is because you are completely exhausted and have no energy to spare. But maybe it is because you trust that this is ok. She is ok. And will be ok.
You still cry. Ugly wee out your eyes cry.
You don’t deny how you are feeling. Instead you are re-reminded of what is most important to you. And reinforced that you are human and human things happen to humans and humaning is fucking hard. No news flash. It’s for real.
Stuff happens to humans irrespective of how kind they are, how much money they have, how funny, they are, how ‘healthy’ they are….unexpected stuff happens!!
AND there is so much love that exists as a human. And pain can be a gateway to deeper more unconditional love. While you have always ‘known’ this and ‘preached’ this…you actually have embodied this.
Allowing yourself permission to feel it all. And being kind with yourself when you bypass the pain….understanding you will return to heal it. Not escape button it.
And in no surprise you read a blog post by one of your favourite writers and it sums it up for you:
Being human hurts. We try so hard to avoid this fact, doing our best to numb ourselves with various addictions, overwork, obsessive love affairs, positive psychology, and or spiritual bypassing techniques to try to “love and light” our way past the pain. But no matter how you run away from pain, pain will track you down, stalking you like a leopard until you finally dive down into it and really let it devour you. We have to go all the way into our traumas (as I described here) before it can begin to release us, open our hearts, and show us that at the pit of our pain, all we meet is (paradoxically)—unconditional love. This is what we’re so afraid of? Love? (Lissa Rankin)
And in her blog she references another of your favourite teachers:
So when we Easy button our way out we are like caterpillars who jump out of the cocoon right before we would have become butterflies. Because pain is actually not a hot potato. It’s the traveling professor and it knocks on everybody’s door, and the wisest ones say, “Come in. Sit down, and don’t leave until you’ve taught me what I need to know.” But we’ve got it all wrong. We are afraid of pain, but we were made for pain. We need to be afraid of the Easy buttons. Because the journey of the Love Warrior is to rush toward her pain and let her pain become her power. (Glennon Doyle Melton)
Something has changed within you. You can feel it. It is subtle and yet so powerful. All that time you spent thinking ‘the best is yet to come’, you see that the best is right here now. Each moment of every now.
Each card game. Each message of love. Each meal together. Each challenge.
And even though as you consider having to consider surgery number 3 for your baby girl, you know that you ‘should’ be feeling afraid and angry and shaking your fists at the sky screaming ‘why me’, ‘should’ isn’t running the show.
Instead you draw closer to the pain. Right into it’s den. You sit down across from it and you ask, “What is it you want to share with me this time wise teacher”?
To be continued……….