My father’s neurosurgery to repair a ruptured aneurysm in the dead center point of his brain was entering it’s fifth hour…. And the quiet family waiting room had begun to feel too small for me to breath. My aunts and uncles and grandma and brother had all acclimated themselves to one another, to their roles and duties in this surreal catastrophic even, but I, I was still having a hard time. I felt confused and numb and hurt. I felt like an awkward outsider. I could neither cry nor overreact. I felt fixated on communicating the medical details of every step of the way, updating family members on arterial line placements and new infusions…. blah blah blah… drowning in the blame for those who had not called me sooner, and then who had become defensive when I descended upon the scene of my father, writhing in a dark room tangled in sheets and pillows on the couch, supposedly suffering from a severe heat stroke…. suffering from a headache thought to be related to dehydration, now known to be a blood explosion in his head……..
I’d sat. And joked. And made small talk and communicated with a tone that defended my stature as his daughter in the midst of an already strong birth order riddled with past tragedy and strife. I smiled, and toiled and wrung my hands and calmed those who were anxious. But still…. no inner calm for myself. And the chest tightness I feel in my most anxious moments squeezed up and finally, in a spontaneous flail, I propelled myself out of my chair and headed out. To the halls. The shiny halls that bore reflections that rippled like water. I walked and walked and walked and finally, somehow, the internal, frenetic currents of forward never ending thoughts began to slow and take on the shape of actual conclusions and calm…. the poeticism— the Holy Spirit emerged.
Today I fleshed out emotions with my aunt over the phone and her resolve and therapeutic listening shocked me. I cried. I hadn’t cried since this whole thing began. I cried and felt better and more at peace. Able and prepared to just be who I need to be for my father who’s brain is still bleeding… whose brain is attached to tubing that drain blood and spinal fluid…. his life force…. his liquid……
I’m ready to just be strong for my father, and be who I am in the family… his daughter, their niece, her granddaughter, his sister. Not an expert or lead anything. Just me…… for them….. for him.