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Easter Morning

August 26, 2009


I feel like I’m a caterpillar in a cocoon. I’ve lost all those legs and my old body and identity and I’m waiting, incubating; and like a cocoon, fragile. I’ve read that if you try to help the baby butterfly imerge from the cocoon by helping her crack open that covering, she’ll die. It feels a bit like a tomb as well. Or like a chick in an egg, a baby bird. Incubating for a few days (weeks, months), fragile, not ready to be touched, not with a new identity yet but no longer having the old one.

I asked about a book telling it like it really is. I had remembered reading Lewis Grizzard’s book, “They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat” about twenty five years ago after I had kidney surgery. He wrote it four months after having a valve replaced back in 1982. I ordered a used copy and read it in a couple of hours. It wasn’t near as funny as I remember. Interesting though how unchanged things are twenty seven years later. He talked also about having little pain other than chest tube removal and said he was back writing after eight days at home and playing tennis after six weeks. I don’t find stories like that comforting. I suppose that has to do with misery loving company or at least validation. I do well to brush my hair.

I had lunch with friends yesterday. Of course their first comments were, “You look so good!.” Instead of feeling hostile, I just laughed to myself. Being around crowds still freaks me out a bit. I feel like I need some protective padding, both for my body and my soul as both still feel so fragile. Please don’t bump in to me, please don’t hug me too tight, please don’t say anything mean…all go through my mind as I scan the crowd for possible dangers. Is this paranoia or wisdom?

I admitted to my friends I didn’t know who I was now but that I knew I couldn’t be the old me and continue to live. I admitted the old way of living and being had been literally killing me. Me, who looked so peaceful and calm with the loving smile permanentl;y plastered on.

Life after bypass…maybe that means smiling when I really feel it and crying whenever I want to. Maybe that means saying yes when I mean yes and no when I mean no. Maybe it means letting people go from my life, the ones who take and use, the ones I never seem to be or do enough for. Maybe it means pulling closer and appreciating more those people I am enough for. Maybe life after bypass is being enough for me, too. Accepting that brushing my teeth is enough productivity for one day, laundry enough for another. That I don’t have to have someone else telling me I’m enough. It’s enough to be alive today, breathing, maybe laughing, maybe crying. Maybe it means being okay feeling broken because I somehow feel a little more real.

I certainly wouldn’t have ever chosen this, but I don’t dream of going back to life before bypass either. Changed. Changing. Wrapped in a cocoon perhaps only understood by those who read these journal entries.

By the way, I wore a shirt that didn’t hide my scar. I’m not hiding my broken heart any more. Not the one doctors can mend or the one only I can mend. My daughters tell me that from a distance, it just looks like pretty impressive cleavage anyway.

I’m not sure what or who I’ll be when I finally hatch from this cocoon, shell, tomb, but despite the fragility I feel, I suspect I’ll somehow be stronger.

Thanks dear fellow fragile hearts of strength and Happy Easter, Happy Spring.

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