…….. the most breathtaking place on the planet.
Still dark and very cool, sometimes cold.
Long straw-like grass biting at your legs.
New growth pinching your soles through the sand
Hearing the rhythm of nature’s sound -
But not seeing anything.
The smell is crisp and the air gently wisps your face.
Your feet sink slowly into the ground making your strides more deliberate, slow and deep.
Clutching your arms and rubbing them to keep warm while the breeze gets stronger.
Still very dark.
Nature’s sound is louder and bolder with each beat ascending as it concludes its motion.
I decide to stop and sit.
Still very cold and tired.
I lie down, clutching my body to keep warm.
Roll on my side, raise my knees to a fetal position.
Drift into twilight, faintly hear nature’s sound … then nothing.
Seems like hours go by.
Slowly, I feel the glimmer of heat on my legs, then my body and face.
It gets brighter, hotter and my hands cover my eyes and cautiously open them
To a beautiful bright sun rise.
The sand around me heats up.
I dig my hands into the warm sand.
Hold it, watch it seep through my fingers.
My body is completely warm and relaxed.
A new day has been born!
Opportunity for new adventures.
Correcting past mistakes.
Seeking new interests and challenges.
Learning new lessons,
And perhaps, teaching new lessons to others.
I see this encounter similar to what I had just undergone this past year. I was diagnosed with a meningioma tumor on the right front lobe of my brain. My question was “What do I do now?” The doctor’s response was “you need surgery right away.” Of course my girls were upset, but I reassured them it was going to be ok. I was told to stop working and driving. The doctor jokingly told my girls that if they did anything wrong (as kids), to let me know now because after the surgery, I wouldn’t remember anything.
We then scheduled the surgery for the end of the month. At this time, I thought I would be reflecting on my life and the mistakes I made and how I would learn from them if I came out of this healthy, but I did none of those things. I was very calm, cool, and collective; I don’t even know if I prayed.
I was so emotionless, there was no reaction to what I was up against. Nothing bothered me - very even keel. The surgery day arrived. My girls drove me to the hospital and according to them, my whole family was there, even my ex-husband. I’m glad he came, he was a great support for the girls. But I didn’t and still don’t remember that. The only thing I do remember was turning to one of my daughters saying “I can’t do this”, and she said “yes, you can”. I gave everybody a hug and a kiss, turned away and followed the nurse into the Pre-Op room.
Reality still didn’t kick in. One of the nurses said to me that I was one of the few patient that didn’t fight her for sticking me with numerous IV’s and needles. I had a blase attitude about what was going to happen. My doctor came in, dressed in his operating garb with his hat and booties too, and said the surgery will be about 5 -7 hours long, so what did I say? You guessed it “Okay”. He just laughed.
I watched the preparation of other patients for their surgeries; I wondered what was going through their minds. About an hour later, my doctor returned and said there is a delay about a couple of hours, they were having a problem with another patient in the OR regarding her breathing.
I decided to lay my head back and the next thing I recall was the recovery room. My doctor came in and said everything went very well and it only took a little more than 4 hours. I was relieved. I vaguely remember seeing my daughters; thankfully I had no white bandage around my head, no IV’s, no tubes in my nose or down my throat. What they didn’t tell me was my face was swollen and severely black and blue. I didn’t look anything like myself at all.
Within the four day hospital stay, I didn’t have any pain. Didn’t need any of those very strong painkillers, my doctors were amazed, so was I. The nurses treated me like a queen. I was almost reluctant to return home.
As I was wheeled in a chair to the downstairs lobby, everything looked bigger than I remembered. Actually, I don’t know if I truly recalled the lobby anyway. My older daughter drove up to the curb. I said, “No I can’t sit there, the windshield looks huge.” To me it was all windshield, nothing else, nothing that would protect me from a accident. They understood. Everything moved in slow motion.
When we entered the house, it was gigantic! Some family members were there to greet me.
As time went on, I created a routine for myself which everything was done so deliberately I felt like a robot. As the days went by, I started to see clarity in my life and everything around me. Some things were scary and other things were delightful and shocking. But what I found most rewarding was that I discovered the clarity in myself. I finally was able to look around my home watch my girls and realize I did a terrific job in keeping my home and raising my daughters. I was so proud of myself!
I knew that the reality was starting to set in when I was home for about a month and going to different doctors and physical therapies - I couldn’t believe what I actually experienced. This tumor was in my brain for over 20 plus years. That’s incredible! I was never in any pain before or after the surgery, but “things” were happening to my body that I’m not ready to mention at this time. Those “things” are all gone now and that amazes me.
However, when I got ready to go to sleep, I’d close my eyes after my prayers and I think of something that relaxed me and then expand on it and try to fall asleep - but that never happened.
I would be in a dream and there was a black cloud hovering over me, following me everywhere I went. It was driving me crazy!! The next day I’d ponder about it realized it meant death was looming. What a horrible thought. But I felt that death was dark and black, shaped like a cloud and following me everywhere I went. Night after night I would try to stay up later and later so that I was so tired, I’d hit the pillow and sleep.
As weeks went by, I rediscovered myself in the books I started reading, how I missed reading, I started playing the piano again - that gave me chills, it was sloppy, but it sounded great! For me the biggest plus of rediscovery was wanting to learn the computer. Prior to this I had no interest at all. But now I’m getting better at it.
The biggest obstacle is my memory. My long and short term memory is very challenging for me and mostly my daughters. I always ask the same questions, repeat my stories or mess up messages. I do drive my daughters nuts, especially the one who lives with me. She’s a saint.
The weeks are turning into months and I do enjoy staying home and puttering about. Even though I still can’t drive yet, I find things to do - like this!
This experience gave me a second chance at life again. Not realizing this before, I got second chances every day I woke up from my slumber. Every day I got an opportunity to change, but I took it for granted, which now I don’t. I’m like a kid in a candy store, “What do I want?” So many things to see and do. I want to do it all! But where do I start? How do I get there? Do I prioritize or just throw fear out the window? What should I do first?
Maybe that’s why I love the beach and sunsets. Each sunset is a new beginning for each day, just like my surgery. I got a second chance at life, each sunset gives us a second chance each day at life, to live it better than yesterday. That’s what I have to do. To try and live each day better than yesterday ……
Sitting on the sand - watching the sun slowly ease from the sky until it kisses the top of the ocean. Feeling the cooler air push the warmth away from my surroundings, from the sand - now a little cooler - I lie down with my arms around me, slowly doze off as the sun goes beneath the water. The waves rock me to sleep - waiting for another day to come …… aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh the best place on the planet …………….