Three weeks ago my mother underwent quadruple bypass surgery. It was unexpected. We were completely at a loss. There was really no other option.
The Sunday prior, she was not feeling well and to be completely honest, had been struggling with shortness of breath upon exertion. All her symptoms were explained away by other plausible scenarios. Her allergies were acting up. She had gained a bit of weight. She had been working a lot and not getting enough sleep. She knew she was out of shape. By Sunday evening she knew she needed to go to the Emergency Room. Something wasn’t right.
By Monday morning and after many tests, it was determined that four of her coronary vessels were at least 50% obstructed. Wait, what? No, this can’t be happening. Not MY mom. There must be another explanation or option.
And just like that, surgery was scheduled. My brain was frantically searching for something, anything to quell the tsunami of emotion threatening to take me down. My fear and downright disappointment was simmering right underneath the surface. My “everything will be all right” personality was cracking.
As the oldest of four children, I launched into Director mode. Phone calls needed to be made. We needed to select a Surgeon. What about their dogs? We would need to ready our home for our family to crash. What about the kids? It’s Spring Break. Thank God we don’t need to worry about activities and school responsibilities.
Following an ambulance that contains someone you love with your whole heart is sobering. I don’t remember much from that trip except the constant thought of “stay calm, Ami. She is OK. She will be OK. She’s in good hands.”
I honestly thought this would have been the time to completely lose it. But I didn’t. I was extremely thirsty. I had had nothing to eat since breakfast very early that morning and wasn’t the least bit hungry. It was gray and cold outside and I kept remembering all the commitments that I needed to cancel. All of that, but no crying. If I cried, I couldn’t drive. My parents needed me to hold it together. To be responsible. To talk to the doctors and nurses. To reassure them that everything was going to be ok.
The reassurance I craved arrived Tuesday afternoon, in the form of family. God with skin on. We laughed and cried and reminded each other that love is what really matters.
Wednesday is surgery day. We saw her off to surgery. And then we waited. The surgery was successful. The recovery started and continues. It’s new, raw and uncertain. There’s nothing to prepare someone for the after. The healing. The new normal. The mood swings and the grief cycle being repeated over and over again.
Today I get to hug her, talk to her and the chance to experience this new normal with an old family that has been rebirthed. Now, especially now, I have learned to intentionally live in the present moment. To slow down to play and rest. To work on my craft without doing so obsessively. I practice self-care and take time for myself and for those I love the most.
And yes, I did feel guilt. Guilt for not seeing the signs and symptoms as something more. But, If I remember correctly, guilt is caused by doing something wrong. I did nothing wrong.
Today I am working on finding harmony. Living in the moment and accepting life on life’s terms.
Nothing more, nothing less.
If you find yourself in the middle of a storm; physical, emotional, mental or all three, take heart. Transitioning into a new life isn’t always exciting. In fact, it can be downright terrifying. Take care of yourself. Seek support. Remember to breathe and take the next right step.
If you find you’re getting stuck, fighting limiting beliefs, Coaching can help.