It seems almost like yesterday that I was being wheeled down long hospital corridors desperately trying to hold back the tears that were pushing their way to the surface. In that moment it didn’t matter that I was a grown woman who had just turned 26. I felt like a kid who was having a big bad dream; I needed my mom and dad to tell me it was going to be okay. They were allowed to accompany me to a certain point and then I had to say good-bye. As I was being wheeled away, I wanted to explain how helpful it would be to have my daddy place his big hand in mine during the surgical procedure. Of course any reasoning wouldn’t have worked. The OR room was sterile, cold and icy. The Anesthesiologist attempt to take me to a dreamy beach scene far away was soon swallowed up with blackness. The next moments I remember were filled with pain and nausea- after effects of the 7 inch seam made in my midsection. It was a tremendous relief to see my parents and my dear friend, Flora upon returning to my room. I realized in the moments that followed that being with those who are closest to you is the best therapeutic intervention. They willingly sat by my bedside and helped me when I couldn’t help myself. That long night in the hospital my brother Eldon stayed with me. Upon release from the hospital I was taken home to my parents’ place. My parents were my heroes; they knew how to give the best palliative care. Eventually my body healed, and I was able to be up and around doing normal activities. I was a different person though. After going through surgery and the pain that followed, I had more understanding about suffering.
This time we’re traveling to Atlanta, GA for surgery. Unlike my last surgical procedure I’m going to be farther away from my family and I’m going to be facing this experience with the love of my life, Eric. Though I’m now nearly 29, I’m still going to feel like a kid when I’m wheeled away from the one that I love the most on this earth. It already hurts. We’ve talked about how hard it’s going to be but there’s really no way to prepare for it. I don’t know how this experience will be; I only have my last surgical procedure to compare it to. I know that we’re hopeful for a successful surgery and longer relief. We will be in good hands; we’ll be held in the hands of Jesus.
Suffering does things deep to a person’s soul and they are never quite the same anymore. Sometimes my heart feels like it’s breaking in millions of pieces because it hurts so deeply for others. When I see others in pain, I wish I could do something to relieve it. Though I can’t fix it, I pray and try to be sensitive to the Spirit to know how to extend care. The reality of suffering is that I can’t take the pain away; the only way ahead is through it. This reality doesn’t mean I can’t find tangible ways to show care. We all need care when we are broken.
I’m thankful for a Father who knows best how to care for me in my brokenness. I’m thankful for Eric, who’s stood by me, supported me and listened to me when things have been dark. I’m also thankful for my dear family who’s believed the best about me and has continued to love me even when my health hasn’t made good sense. I’m thankful for our church family’s support with this upcoming surgery endeavor. I wonder how people make it without Jesus and without a church family. We are so blessed.