Monday, March 19, 2012

"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."

During this emotional wave that I'm struggling to stay on the surfboard, there are a lot of tools that I take advantage to help myself.  Friends and family are very supportive, and I know I couldn't do it without them, especially ones who have been there throughout other tough moments in my life, or who had been in the same boat as I, in their own time. Let me share some moments with you to demonstrate how much they influence me during the storm, even now.

After seeing the doctor who gave me the news that I cannot have children, and that the uterus will need to be removed, I flew to see my family in Kansas City the next day. The doctor told my uncle at my request, before my flight. Now, keep in mind that I am deaf, the only deaf among the hearing family.  I saw my uncle at the airport, and at eye contact, I was ready to cry.  He rained empathy and love upon me.  During the silent drive to his home, he seized my hand and held it while driving.  I wasn't ready to talk, and he knew that.  I needed touch, and he gave it without question.  Throughout the visit, he made sure there was a lot of touches, kisses on cheek, bear hugs, gentle smiles, side hugs, and even space when I seeked it.  And you know what?  I needed all that over talk- I needed to be reminded that I'm human with emotions, than just a body with a medical condition.   One don't need words to voice love and support.

 I still chuckle thinking about the moment in pre-surgery preparations at the hospital  that February morning, when the nurse asked me, "Do you need anything to help you stay calm?" and I swear I could hear Tryst's exclamation, "Ask for an Xanax!" in my mind.  I giggled at the visualization, and told the nurse, with a smile, "no thanks, I'm fine."  Tryst was in Texas at that moment, yet  I also could see her at the corner of my eye, as an illusion. She was glaring at the nurse, while staying close to me, just like a mother lioness.  I knew then that there was nothing for me to worry about.  She was there in spirit, and that helped me stay calm for the surgery.

While home after being discharged from the hospital, a guy friend sent me a private message, out of the blue.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear from him. We had known each other since college, and so we keep in touch by Facebook. Despite that, we don't talk with each other that much. It would be months or even  a year or so before we'd check in with each other. He has his life and so do I.  He had learned about my medical condition, and he chose to disclose that he cannot have children either.  What struck me strongly about this is that not many men are willing to admit they are infertile.  There are female friends who have been through similar situations (childless not by choice, or struggling) so I'm not lonely among that type of company. Nevertheless, he was telling me in other words, to let me know he shares my grief in a different way, nevertheless  he is there with me.

Mom was there for almost four weeks.  I did worry about whether I'd have to focus on her, instead of my recovery.  You know how mothers are.  To my pleasant surprise, she went out of her way to let me be who I needed to be. If I needed to be left alone, she left me alone.  I needed company, we played domino's and canasta with the neighbors.  When I needed to be out of the house, we went shopping.  She made some of my favorite dishes, rack of lamb with mint jelly, meatloaf, and chicken pot pie from scratch.  She walked the dogs while I was in the hospital for almost a week.  Even now, she had ensured that I got my books that I had left behind at her home, through my aunt K. She didn't have to do all this, but she did.   I needed Mom at her best, and that's what I got.  I'm grateful for her support, even when we often have differences of opinions. She was there for me.

A friend, HL, lives quite a distance away and she is always busy.  I knew that, and I didn't bother to ask her if she'd visit me while I was staying home, recovering from surgery.  Several days later, I got a text message from her, "I'm here in town, can I see you?" I was stunned and then happy to tell her to come up.   We had  a wonderful talk, with tears and laughter.  She left leaving me with comfort and relief from grief for a brief moment (and yes, I just realized the rhyme- I didn't intend that.)  I needed to talk with someone that day, not about me, or grief, just someone to talk to give me a break from everything. *Pop*, she's there.  Sometimes things do fall into your lap without you expecting it.

Rarely, but it does happen, something inside you knows what you need without you knowing it.  I didn't plan on it, but one morning, I silently went into the guest bedroom where my mom was staying in during my recovery, to fetch the art supplies and an art canvas.  I was in a trance as I drew a Chartre labyrinth pattern on the canvas.  Without thinking, I chose the colors, rich sky blue and gold. Basically I wouldn't choose those colors together, but that day, the soul within me knew what I needed.  I painted the sky as it should be, and the gold paint upon the labyrinth.  It came out breath-taking, very spiritual, and I knew then that my guardian spirits were telling me I'm not alone.  They are there with me now, as they had been there at other traumatic moments and struggles in my life.

A friend basically told me if I needed her, she will be there.  I asked her, and she bought airfare promptly that same day.  After three weeks from the surgery, Roni came.  She did not push me, she did not judge me,  although she did scold me now and then about not taking advantage of her visit, to do things, with a smile.  I was worried about the issue of controlling/taking advantage in a negative way; she insisted to stop worrying about that.  We went out; parks, restaurants and sights were checked off the list.  We stayed in, watching movies, chatting and sampling food were simple but enjoyable in her company.  There were tears, heart-wrenching.  There was laughter, soul-freeing.  Grief and love came together hand-in-hand, and Roni held me together through that.   At the airport, going to catch a plane home,  she looked at me and reminded me, " Remember, I'm there for you.  Now, when should I see you again?" with a smile.

With the instances, you can see how one can have faith in humanity, even when you're hurting from something made you doubt your own humanity for a time.  That's when you are living in the worst moment to find the best in yourself, with the family and friends loving you.


  1. *beaming* I love you, Julie. ;-)

  2. I love your painting. Mazes have always fascinated me.

  3. Thanks, Path! I have always love labyrinths long, and they are very much therapeutic. I use them much for journaling and processing thoughts/emotions.