Ahhhhhh. A vacation from our “vacation” is almost over. We spent the last few days at Cape Cod which has turned into one of our all time favorite places. The sherbet like sunsets, the clear ocean waters, the ice cream. And oh yes, the bugs (not so much love for the last one). The cape brushes off my dingy soul and reminds me to have fun again. Seven more days in Boston and then HOME.
Last year I spent what time I could on a very hot, very windy beach. There is no comfortable way to sit on the ground when you are missing a hip. No criss-cross applesauce, nor can you lay down because your broken back just does not accommodate a hard sandy surface. You hear laughing and gossip, but you remind yourself you are just happy to be alive while your family explores the tidal sands and dips their toes in the salty waters. You are letting the last 3 months of misery be brushed off by the kiss of the sea breeze. But you weep for the limitations that disability clamps onto your ankles. You weep for what was, for what could have been, for what will be. You grieve. Your past is now riddled with trauma and you wonder where your journey is taking you.
I cannot believe that over 18 months passed without a hip. That I am now 17 months post transplant. That I am recovering from 2 surgeries this year and expecting one more…. and then hopefully just one more after that before I get a long break from all hospitals as an inpatient. What a difference time can make. I am relearning to walk (strangely difficult), I am learning that this broken body is beautiful. (If you have not heard this song, I highly recommend it I’m Broken and it’s Beautiful ). Each moment is a step away from the experience that shaped me. And each step moves me to a place where I am uncertain of my future, but moving forward in faith has to be enough.
I love that I have been blessed with this time. That I am here and alive, but that isn’t entirely what this post is about. Although each moment moves me away from my past traumas, each moment can also bring them all rushing back. For those of you who have been through some sort of trauma, you know what I am talking about. A song that was playing the moment your life changed. A smell that reminds you of a time a place better off forgotten. An outfit that now sits in the back of your closet because you were wearing it when you heard the news. I’m not quite sure why, but our minds and our souls have a way of holding onto these deep grievances in the most shocking of ways. That grief, that trauma, is embedded into our lymbic system, so not only do we remember the incident, but we remember the feelings, smells, sights, touches of that time. And the smallest things may bring it all rushing back.
I have been writing about my experience in my autobiography, “The Glittered Path: Moving forward” and I really thought I had captured every wrenching moment of the past 2 years. I sobbed as I wrote my outline and the rough draft is bringing me to tears. Enough so that I have to take mental breaks from the process in order to function. It is a relief to complete a section, not only because of the accomplishment, but because I feel like I can finally put those emotions away. But only if it was that easy.
Things are simple as going to the bathroom or looking at my feet or hearing a song and BOOM… I am in a hospital bed living in misery, even though it is just in my mind. Those old feelings, thoughts, emotions are new again. Are fresh again. Are traumatic again. At first you try avoidance… but have you ever tried to avoid bathrooms? Easier thought than done. So you face your fear and move into the situation. You conquer your fear only to be bombarded by a song or a scent. Your mind has melded itself to that horrific experience and it just can’t let go. You scream and cry all over again. Never knowing when grief will show itself. It is the most tortuous of situations. You have to live life to forget life. To disassociate yourself from the bad, you have to reassociate with the good. So that everything old, has a new meaning. Whether you are a veteran, widow, rape victim, cancer survivor- really if you are just alive, you most likely have one of these experiences. But you feel so alone. These are not facebook moments, you have to ignore that they happen because you feel like you are the only one who is “weak” enough to experience it.
I want you to know right now, right here, you are not alone.
You will heal.
Have faith over fear. Hold tight to the Lord. Just breathe.
And you can make everting new again.