Life in a hospital stops time. Being with my beloved Paul over the week since his surgery has reminded me of sweet times spent with my sons when they were babies. I feel still inside. One moment I rub his feet with lotion; another, I call a nurse for more medication, or take notes when the cardiologist stops in. Three hours pass like a single breath. Presence muddies time. Menial things become interesting.
I first noticed this when my friend Holly and I took a walk around the skyways connecting the various hospital buildings. We were ambling over a four-lane highway when I heard myself say, “How interesting to be crossing a road!” I laughed. Had my life been reduced to such trivia? Holly told me a joke: “Why didn’t the skeleton cross the road?….Because it didn’t have the guts!” We laughed together and walked on.
I’ve crossed a road in more ways that one. The past few weeks have taught me to appreciate the simple things, like positioning a pillow just right under Paul’s head, or thanking the woman cleaning the floor of his room.
With the drama of the surgery behind us, I see now that it was all like crossing a road. I was afraid there would be danger, which there was, but we reached the other side, one step after another. It’s good to be here.
What road are you crossing?
Eileen . . . I have found that only in the days and weeks ahead will you and Paul fully process a most major chapter in life in its entirely. You will have both grown in innumerable ways: become so much more compassionate, understanding now of the many small kindnesses and larger expertise that is involved in the healing process, finding that each of you was so much stronger than you thought you could be, and that prayer and thanksgiving was an intregral part of the end result being so positive.
Having adversity in life as you have just had should – in the end – bring you two closer, more appreciative of the part each plays in the others’ life, realizing more fully what a blessing each of you has in the other.
But I believe as you two are deep and sensitive, that you will be able to turn this around even further in a larger sense. Truly, until you experience major traumatic heath times yourself, you just cannot be there later in the truest sense for others. It is as if a window in the mind has opened. When others will be going through their own health situations, you will understand and be there for them in just the right ways. After all, in life we are here to help others. You and Paul will be far more equipped to be the right support.
I tend to turn adversity around in the longer range, thinking of it as knowledge gained and lessons learned. I am not going to let these lessons go to waste. . and my life has become so much richer than I could have dreamed in the process. Knowing you two – with the caring and depth you have – I know it will be the same.
For now, there is no rush. The forward progress will go as it should on its own timetable . . . and you will have time for the two of you alone – which can be a gift in itself I feel. Use it well.
I feel that sunshine has burst through, brightening your days, and the prayers of so many have made all the difference.
Know you are both loved,
Dear Joan, I like your positive approach to life. I tend to live that way too. No doubt, this experience has brought Paul and me closer and has made us more compassionate towards others who are suffering or caring for those who are suffering. The prayers have no doubt made a huge difference. Thank you for your sensitive and beautifully written remarks.
Poignant words. Sensitive times. Glad to hear Paul is recovering comfortably and with the best nurse of all – you. At times like these, the memories we share with loved ones are more potent than medicine or the stars above. The connections and bonds we hold dear are healers from time immemorial–their strengths far exceed the potions of the modern world. Feel their magic. Dwell in mystery and know you hold the moonbeams of antiquity in your souls and between your hands and hearts.
Thank you Phyll, for so many ways in which you have been there. We loved your card too.Many moon beams have come our way, and we feel deeply grateful. Thank you for adding yours.
Dear Eileen and Paul, I am so glad to read that you for sure crossed the road. . and now Paul is on his way of recovering. I Don’t like to be in the middle of problems, when I still have the mountain to climb or the road to walk where I don’t see where it is actually leading us.I always fight to find the direction from the labyrinth and when i do I fell free… wishing all the best to both of you
Thank you for your wonderful image of the labyrinth. This has indeed been like that. I play a game on my iPhone called “Unblock Me.” Have you ever done that? That’s a lot what this experience has been like. Yet I have managed to unblock the exit every time. Thanks for your good wishes!
Thank you for sharing such intimate moments. Having turned 70 in December, I find myself thinking more often about what our futures hold involving health issues. We have been blessed with 50 healthy years of marriage and realize doctors and hospitals will become part of our future. I am printing out your column to remind me to sit in the stillness of God’s loving comfort. Sending healing hugs.
Thank you Tricia. I am touched by your printing out my column. I’m sure I have much more to learn from you, with 50 healthy years of marriage! Blessings to you both. May you have many more. I’m happy to say that Paul’s doing much better now. May you find comfort in the love around you whenever you need it.
Eileen, Thank you for sharing your thoughts, again. Paul’s progress and your calm and care of him during this crisis has proved to be a success. I think life is made up of many surprises and uncertainties and one is shaken into a state of being startled. You have, aptly, referred to “crossroads” as a way of defining so much. I like that way of conceptualizing. I think that sharing between a husband a wife is, deeply, personal. One wonders, if one has ever done enough. You seem to have found a balance in life and understand responsibility.
I am crossing the road of being farther away from my sons than I wish. I take each day at a time and count my blessings…
I think that one of the hardest parts of being a parent is letting go, and letting our children live their own lives. I’m right with you, Elaine. Our sons are each living on opposite coasts. We are blessed to be able to see them fairly often, but it’s not the same as having them in the same state or city. I remind myself about the quality of time. I hope the time you have with your sons makes up for their distance.