I recently experienced cranial surgery. During this difficult time, I learned a lot about letting go and asking for help.
While I always put my trust in God, this time it did not stop the anxious, pre-surgery thoughts from racing through my mind. Thoughts of “possible human error” got the best of me at night. Fears of not returning to my family often squeezed my chest just after I tucked the kids into bed. Usually with a good prayer and a reflective self talk, I could steady my nerves.
While we may choose to hover in our emotions, it’s sometimes better to search for a more sensible route.
I’m not sure what seemed worse. Signing off “ in case of death” plans at my lawyer’s office or waking up with an empty memory. To put it all in perspective, it was “minor cranial surgery” (as minor as cranial surgery can be) and I’m completely healthy now. But, the journey to get back to my life presented challenges that I did not anticipate.
I saw concern and fear in my children’s eyes during those first moments leaving the hospital. The head bandages and unsteady walking scared them. I was confused, I recognized them but couldn’t quite remember their names. Later on they confided, “We went to our rooms and cried. You were not mom. We didn’t know who you were!” Early on they snuggled with me in bed, trying to find glimpses of their real mother. I pointed out to the clouds and pretty flowers in the air. The kids genuinely thought I was loony. The drugs and lasting effects of anesthesia made me very confused for many days.
I had to work hard to recall names, where things were placed, how to walk in a straight line, and even how to just feel like me. Some of the “strangers” that texted me were actually coworkers, neighbors, and friends. Being in the car or going to busy places made my head spin. My inner ear balance and ocular eye nerves were suppressed. Any fast movements, balancing, reading, writing, listening to loud sounds, even watching TV became incredibly difficult. Everything made the world in my head spin. Simply closing my eyes and thinking too hard hurt.
The silver lining in all this post surgery has been the precious quality time with family and friends. I have been married for a while, but bonds strengthen when you open your eyes and your husband is there to feed you at bedside. Long lost friendships have rekindled. Kindness, in all it’s forms, touched my heart. My children stepped into the role of caregiver, taking me for walks and taking care of each other. They learned that fresh produce, yogurt, and a simple sandwich make a great meal.
Sometimes, in our earnest efforts to parent children, we forget that just being there to give love and support is as important as instructing the “how to’s.” Trusting in God’s help and letting the process flow allows our children the freedom to grow. Taking a break from routines and responsibilities allows others the opportunity to reach out and fill in gaps. Sometimes the best part of difficult circumstances are the hearts that connect along the way. Or perhaps it’s the reaffirmation that life is still worth living fully, even when you are not able to bring your A game. Every soul has purpose.
Now that I’m healthy again (praise God), I’m back at work and community service activities. At first, I wondered how to catch up to what used to be my crazy, busy life style. I have come to realize that I don’t care to chase life like that anymore. I care more for the quality moments that energize me, motivate me to be a better version of myself. I learned the best kind of super mom shares the load and stays sane in the process. The best kind of living is in mindful reflection, loving, serving, and being grateful.
Sharda Mohammed is a Canadian born mother of two little mountain climbers. She has a keen interest in learning to foster leadership & compassion in young children. She works part time as a physical therapist.