As a concern rises within you, restless thoughts tumble through your mind, pulling you farther away from what you are seeking.
Over & over this repeated pattern attracts momentum & illusions as you search for impossible answers, until these thoughts occupy that which was meant for ME.
Be still and make room for MY ceaseless whisper.
IAM fearless and so are you.
I’m afraid in this moment. Usually I’m adventurous, strong and confident as I move through my day. Not today, nor yesterday either. I find myself slipping into deep sadness and fear again. On a good day I’m reverent, mindful, quiet and content. But not on a fearful day. On fearful days I work at keeping the tears below the surface and my negative thinking at bay as I struggle to stay out of spinning stories about what may happen in the coming month of May. The month my beloved daughter Alex has her second heart valve transplant. Another run at her surviving.
14 years ago she had her first aortic valve replacement. It involved cooling her body to low temperatures, slowing her major body functions, in order to link her to a heart-lung bypass machine that kept her ‘alive’, while a cardio thoracic surgeon worked on her still, motionless heart.
Sometimes it’s best not to know so much….it gives the mind too much to work with.
14 years ago I knew the procedure was life threatening, so I removed her from school two weeks prior to her surgery and spent as much time as I could with her. She probably thought it was about some kind of spring hooky from school. I didn’t share with her how afraid I was of loosing her. I was trying to be brave for her. Thing is, she turned out to be brave for me.
We were driving down a quiet country road on our way into town to visit her favorite video store. She had a hot twenty dollar bill in her pocket and she was excited. Somewhere along that wooded stretch of hill county, I began to silently pray. Holding tightly onto my steering wheel, I began my conversation with Creator. Sometimes a whisper of words would be released,
“Beloved Creator, how I love this silly, deaf child next to me. She asks so little of me, but gives me so much. I ask that you give me strength so I can be strong for her. That you fill me with wisdom so I can help her understand…..”
My mind was pushing the words out of me as if my body was over crowded with images of loosing her. The fear of my life without her was a strong current, and I was being swept away by it.
When suddenly, out of no where, this profoundly deaf child turns to me and tugs on my sleeve. Looking up at me she begins to sign to me:
“Momma, I know that I have to go to the hospital”.
I thought to myself, how could she know what I was feeling, was praying about. She could not have heard my ‘mothers’ plea ‘.
“First Momma, they put a mask on my face and I will fall asleep”. She continues to sign to me with her thumb starting at her throat and moving slowing down the center of her chest, “Then the doctor will open my chest and pull out my heart.” She follows that with a funny kid like gesture of fixing her heart and puts it back into her chest.
With one eye open to show me she is still asleep on the operating table, she signs another smaller incision with her thumb on her upper left side that demonstrates the removal of her pacemaker and insertion of a new one.
I was mesmerized and had to stop the car on the side of the road. I didn’t want to miss one hand movement of her story.
One by one, she gestures the slow stitching up of her chest opening….watching me with her one eye open to make sure I was watching. With the final bow tie near the throat, (Funny how kids demonstrate serious stuff so innocently) she shows me they remove the gas mask and the biggest smile bursts across her face..
“Then Momma, I am ALIVE!”
I hold her gaze for the longest time and from somewhere deep within me I sign back to her,
“Alex, are you afraid to die?”
Thinking over her mother’s question…. a question we moms should never have to ask our kids, she replies.
Momma, my angel told me this. ‘First Alex, a trumpet will sound your name. And when you hear your name, you will be called to stand beneath the most beautiful column of white light.
Then my angel told me, ” There Alex, you will see God.”
“Momma, I’m not afraid to die.”
Her story was the answer to my prayer. She was not afraid. I was. She was strong and confident, I wasn’t.
As I slowly returned to the road thinking of what just happened. Of how she was inspired to share with me this profound story following my prayer. I realized she was the answer to my prayer. She was fearless.
Coming closer to an intersection to town, she tugged at my sleeve one more time and said to me with the most beautiful smile,
“Momma. No trumpet, No die.”
Recalling this story of 14 years ago gives me comfort as I now stand at this intersection of another aortic valve replacement and my emerging fear. She’s with me now & we are planning to soon leave for Mexico with her sisters and Nancy…. her other ‘mom’. A family trip to celebrate our bonds, our faith that all will go well in May and that we will not hear any trumpets soon.
(Written & published on Easter morning. A time of reflection on death and rebirth. )