Today’s blog post, like last week’s, is inspired by my husband’s recent heart surgery. I submitted this piece as my second assignment in Martha Beck’s Write into Light course. We were asked describe an uncertain period in life where we received guidance, either externally or internally that helped us cope with uncertainty. Here’s my story, in 500 words or less:
“Love is stronger than death
even though it can’t stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries, it can’t separate people from love.”
– Author unknown
“Denyse, Denyse, no you can’t see me, but when you pause between your inhale and your exhale, you can hear me, feel me. You know I am here, you know I speak the Truth. Wake up! Ignore the beeping sounds! Ignore the bags of liquid draining into his arm! Ease the worry lines casting doubt on your face! Just hold his hand and feel your connection. You know that, too, is true.”
It’s day 25 in the ICU. My husband will have the ventilator tube removed. I wonder who will wake up from this medically induced rest. Will I have the strength to bolster him through the long recovery? “Denyse, stop thinking. Breathe, all will be as it shall be.” The feeling voice returned.
Where did this faith come from? How did this whispered knowing bring me hope when medical staff could only offer conflicting cryptic messages of uncertainty. I’m not normally a “believing” person.
After my daily hospital vigil, the feeling or the voice would enter my Being, a pause between wakefulness and sleep. It calmed the unmentionable doubts that could bring tears of fear about an emptier life should he not come home. It bolstered me, prepped me for surviving an unknown outcome. It also spoke to me like a voice from Charles Dickens’ Christmas future. “Pay attention or you may face a similar fate.”
The first words my husband rasped to me were: “I think, I’ve been here long enough, you gotta get me outta here.” Somehow, I found the courage to tell him that wasn’t going to happen. There was still much healing to be done. When he got impatient and pissed, I knew he was still there. My heart leapt with hope, but I could tell things were not quite right, yet.
“Leave for now, Denyse but keep coming back.” The feeling voice jumped in. “His anger means he can heal. He knows he wants to go home.”
It would be another month before he would come home. Daily, the feeling voice counseled me on the right course of action. I learned to trust it. Not to keep breathing through it in dismissal, but pausing to see what it had to say. I allowed its wisdom to sing me to sleep on evenings when sleep seemed impossible. It helped me know what to say to my husband in times when I had no clue what to say or do. It helped me be kind to myself during the times that I screwed up. It made me fully appreciate this life, my health, my husband’s tenacity and ability to heal, my time with my husband and those I love.
I don’t know what the future holds, but the feeling voice taught me to pause and listen deeply.