It’s hard to listen to the dire possibilities of stroke, paralysis, mental retardation, even death, even when you know it’s required by the doctor’s insurance company.
It’s easier when people rally around you, offering hope the doctor didn’t.
It’s hard to watch your daughter be wheeled off tearful at the thought of what surely sounds and feels like her imminent and sure demise.
It’s easier when caring folks offer their stories of hearing the worst and experiencing the best.
It’s hard to know that the surgeons and anesthesiologist are exhausted and hungry and still working on your daughter.
It’s easier when they text then talk to you almost giddy with excitement for how well the hard stuff went.
It’s hard not knowing what’s going on.
It’s easer when you have a brother-in-law (who’s an anesthesiologist and involved in the day’s events) sends frequent updates, sometimes using exclamation points.
It’s hard when your brain, in an effort to prepare you, lapses into thoughts of worst case scenarios.
It’s easier when family and friends text and call and come sit with you at the hospital and send funny videos, offering much-needed distraction for your brain.
It’s hard to watch your mother sit through a 13+ hour day, knowing she didn’t sleep the night before because she is hard of hearing and was afraid she’d not hear the alarm and oversleep.
It’s easier when she accepts a seat when offered; when she walks around (and finds her way back); when her friends and siblings eagerly await her call then keep her on the phone talking a while; when you see the relief on her face as she kisses the forehead of the granddaughter at the end of this grueling day.
It’s hard to hear your husband doubt his helpfulness.
It’s easier when he takes over the cooking (among so many other things) so that we can eat well and eat at home.
It’s hard to think of your loved one – and any other hospital patient, for that matter, because they’re all somebody’s loved one – being a number, a slab, a car note.
It’s easier when the hospital staffers smile warmly, ask if there’s anything they can do, and give you the impression they have all the time in the world to spend on you (when you know they don’t).
It’s hard when your son lives far away and you need and want him here beside you, holding your hand like only he can do.
It’s easier when your son tells you he’s keeping his phone within reach all day and will answer it no matter what (and does);
when your Other Son Thomas shows up to sit with you at the hospital
and your Other Son Whit stays in touch with upbeat, supportive messages.
It’s hard not knowing how, if, and how much your new daughter-in-law wants to be involved in her husband’s family . . . a hard thing made harder with distance.
It’s easier when she sends beautiful flowers to her sister-in-law that somehow, miraculously, find us in one of the many waiting rooms we camped out in.
It’s hard to keep thoughts of permanent vocal damage at bay when your daughter is a professional singer and actress who underwent surgery involving her throat.
It’s easier when she talks to you after surgery, the inevitable hoarseness fading after only a few hours (even though you know you’re not out of the woods yet, that there still could be changes in her voice).
It’s hard hearing your daughter apologize for being so much trouble.
It’s easier knowing that she’s actually giving you a chance to feel like a mother again, to feel needed, to feel protective, to feel appreciated.
It’s hard being fearful, knowing that if you don’t stop, you run the risk of having something to be fearful about.
It’s easier when family members (even those you don’t see nearly often enough) rally round you with expressions of love like only family can provide.
It’s hard making your potentially distressing news, your occasional anger and dissatisfaction, your uncertainties public.
It’s easier when you receive private messages telling you the memories your posts enkindle for them, not all of the memories necessarily good, but the act of remembering, worthwhile.
It’s hard when you see your daughter with tubes and drains and monitors.
It’s easier knowing that this is the beginning of recovery.
It’s hard when there’s nothing you can do.
It’s easier when you busy your hands stitching something.
It’s hard when your daughter is undergoing major procedures and surgery.
It’s hard made easier when there are thousands of people sitting with you, cheering for her, holding everyone involved close, sending light and prayers and positive thoughts and healing energy, and Reiki, and pure, unadulterated love.
It’s hard living in the land of doubt and not knowing and pain, both physical and emotional.
It’s easier when there’s a huge vat of gratitude being constantly refilled with appreciation for the goodness, caring, and loving support of people, some of whom you’ll never meet in person.
Thank y’all for all you did yesterday. We couldn’t’ve made it through without you.
And now, let the healing begin.
Today’s story, #28 in the intended 100, is about having fear and anxiety strap you into an emotional roller coaster . . . and having the love, caring, skill, and training of thousands be the attendant who stops the ride and lets you off.