Surgery No 5
My whole life I have been enamored with poetry as a medium to express my feelings and emotions. This poem was meant to be healing to me – to convey exactly how I was feeling. Sadly the hurry up of Sawyer’s surgery brought our family right back to the night of 2/19/08 because we just weren’t prepared. We have had to work our way out of that fog, and just be together as a family (even in stuff that seems little to others). It doesn’t to us, because it was once again a reminder of how big of a hole we experience every day. But as you read this all the way through, I hope that you too are reminded of how BIG our God is to fill that hole right on up with His love! A special thank you to those that see us working on that fog lifting and continue to cheer us on. Sawyer is doing fabulously and that makes us all feel well again!
Surgery No. 5
We don’t really sleep.
Tossing and turning, fitfully checking the clock to make sure we are up in time.
We quit pretending and get up even before the alarm clocks buzzes.
My child cannot eat so neither will I.
We get ready as best we can (when your suitcase is a small purse and school folder containing your homework).
Deep inside we dream that it wasn’t like this.
We walk through cold, skyway glassed corridors. We watch as the rest of the world goes on . . . moves forward while we are forced to go back and relive once again the terrible tragedy that befell our family.
We make small talk trying to overcome our nervousness.
We walk – still a part of the city – not yet a part of the world of doctors, surgeries, nurses, and staff.
Eventually, we know we’ve crossed that invisible boundary – not because of any sign that we proclaims we are here. No, we know that smell. The sterile, clinical smell that tells us we have arrived at our holding spot until they are ready for him.
We know this road. Hurry up and wait. Wait to be asked the same questions over and over again. We know it is for his safety, but after a while, it feels like an assault on our honesty, our integrity, our intelligence.
It is almost time to start – which is a polite cue that the Momma has to go now. We do what we always do. We pray, but somehow this time it is different. As we pray, we are reminded of the choice that this young man, my son, has made about his future.
We pray for the usual things peace, guidance, and wisdom for the surgeon, safety during the procedure, healing, and fast recoveries.
But somehow a rush of words come bubbling out . . from the boy soon to be a man and from the momma who loves him with every fiber in her being.
Lord show us how you are going to use this one day for Your Glory when this child grows up to work for you.
Tears freely flow from me as I try to hold it together. Arms of strength offer comfort from the one who needs the surgery to the one who has to wait and watch and to endure that loss of childhood once again for her son. What love this child holds!
Alone . . . for what seems like eternity. Alone not because I want to be, but simply because of the urgency that surgery no. 5 required. Alone because my husband needed to go home and comfort the girls. Alone – because we didn’t really have enough time to ask anyone to be here with us. Alone because my boy is floors below in a surgical room.
Over time (lots of time), I grow cold. Why are hospital waiting rooms so cold? Why didn’t I bring a sweatshirt? This is March in Minnesota after all.
The first pangs of hunger appear. I am going to hold out. Maybe this will really go as fast they said it would.
Then it starts to take hold of me. I feel it bubbling up from heart to my head.
I want to run, but I don’t dare leave – he might need me.
I want to hit something – though I have never done that in my life.
I want to scream – but polite people don’t do that in waiting rooms.
I want to stop it – yet it comes anyway like a freight train pounding through my body.
The MAD and all its choking tentacles arrive and begin to strangle me.
Here we are again, back to that horrible February day. I’M MAD.
Someone else’s actions put us here. I’M MAD.
He’s going to hurt again. I’M MAD.
He will have to give up things he loves. I’M MAD.
Our family will have to adjust once again. I’M MAD.
All the people who tell us that he is perfectly fine, that’s there is nothing wrong with him. I’M MAD.
What gives them the right to judge us? Are they his doctors? Do they think world renown hospitals do things at my command? I’M MAD.
Anger and fury
I wrestle internally.
I fight to beat back the mad.
I do the only thing that makes sense to me. I pray.
God doesn’t answer in the way I expect. I want peace, but all I get is overwhelming hunger. A Hunger that cannot wait and forces me to leave my not-so-cozy waiting room corner.
I look at the device that tells you all the things going on the bowels below.
Not even in recovery yet.
I decide I must get something to eat. NOW!
The mad inside me is my marching cadence.
I make swift steps to the cafeteria.
That all-consuming hunger, now doesn’t seem as important as all I think I can keep down is a nibble and a swallow.
Slow down. I will myself to walk slowly up from the belly of the clinic. I emerge at one of my favorite spots. A soothing spot. A location where some gentle soul speaks to mine with songs filled with melodic notes. Schubert. Bach. Beethoven. Liszt. Not today – their music isn’t here today.
What is here instead is familiar. It is comforting. It is soothing. It transports me back to little white churches in Georgia and Alabama. It wraps me up in all the things that I know to be good and pure and safe.
Definitely safe. Where mad doesn’t exist. Only love.
Tears begin to stream down on my muffin.
I bobble my juice to wipe my eyes.
The mad starts to seep out of my body as my voice finds a way to express itself.
Unashamedly, I sing even though I don’t think polite people do that in public places.
I know this song. God has answered – albeit not in the way I expected.
God answered in the words of Chisholm and notes of Runyan.
Great is thy faithfulness. Great is thy faithfulness. Morning by morning, new mercies I see. (I am seeing the mercies right now, taking away the mad.) All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. (You have provided all of this around me to take care of my son). Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.
I emerge, like the butterfly from the chrysalis.
I am better than I was before.
I flit back, now lighter, to the waiting spot.
I arrive just in time to see him come back to our starting place.
The first smile flashes across his face. Within moments that snappy sense of humor quips a joke with the nurses.
It’s then that I know that we are going to be okay.
I know for certain because I laugh – God’s healing balm on my soul.
New mercies I see!