Last year was one of great turmoil for me. Because of a CSF Leak, I gradually slipped into an expanse of unknowing. Much of my day was spent lying flat on my back, drifting between this world and the next. As the months passed, I worked hard to manage basic tasks. Once my brain settled into the cervical area of my skull, though, I lost balance and some movement in my arms; I could not think clearly and could not remember from one moment to the next. It was then that fear became part of my life.
I’m relieved to explain that I had neurosurgery mid-December, and I’m steadily recovering. Physical therapy is helping me regain movement, and slowly I’m thinking more clearly, which brings me to the purpose of this post.
Throughout this entire experience, there was one recurrent feeling. Gratitude. I was often brought to tears because a friend or stranger simply offered kindness. A smile perhaps, an embrace, maybe just a hello, a thread of thoughtfulness and I would be overwhelmed. That is when I discovered that when all is taken, there are only miracles that remain, miracles that might not be visible if it weren’t for our suffering.
The CSF leak brought me to a place of profound vulnerability. There was little I could give to another because there was so little that I could call my own. And yet, through it all, I found deep compassion – for the infirmed, for the disabled, for the sorrowful, for all who are suffering. This compassion dominates my life now.
I am so grateful to be alive. Many of you accompanied me with your kind words. I’m ever so grateful to Mary Adler, for her encouragement and genuine care. I’m indebted to Jan Sikes’ for her understanding and support. I’m brought to tears with Suzanne Burke’s kind words and D.L. Finn’s loving support and prayers. Apart from my family and wonderful husband, though, there is no one who helped more during this lengthy ordeal than John W. Howell. He knows only too well my limitations and dwindling abilities. I tried his patience and our pen-pal friendship many times over.
To each of you within the Rave Reviews Book Club and to so many others, all that I can say is Thank You. Thank you, from my heart, from a place that knows only love, THANK YOU. Thank you for accompanying me. You have become family and from you, I have learned so much.