It’s been exactly two weeks from the eviction of my mean-hearted, painful tumor, Felicia, and my uterus and right ovary that she and her raggedy friends destroyed. On the count of three, let’s all say #byefelicia. 1, 2, 3…
The physical and emotional upheaval from this major operation, a total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral oopherectomy, has been, um, crazy. The first hours and then a few days after the surgery, I felt happy, energetic, hopeful. The night after the surgery and blips of days until today, I’ve felt everything from excruciating pain that made me think this was it, to grief and disorientation that made me want this to be IT.
I journaled with tears in my eyes three days ago that “change is disorienting”. It is. Afterall, I’m a meticulous planner and my life plan didn’t include sterility. In fact, as early as the day of diagnosis, in late January, I spoke often of the baby girl, Little Valerie, that I wanted to have and name after my mother. Not being able to realize her, to feel her baby feet kicking, changes my whole script.
Tondra TeeJ Mercer and Pam Russell, both very impactful thought-leaders in the discussion of grief, and personal friends of mine reminded me simply, that I had permission to grieve. I could, needed to and need to grieve.
My championing through chronic depression over the past 11 years shaped my response to those very real, heartbreaking feelings. Work it out. Stay busy. Be consumed with service and serving others. Except, in the midst of the physical implications of what has just happened, I can’t work it out. This leaves me sitting idly, in a fog, attempting to process life.
Instead of allowing myself to grieve, I felt guilty about it, slamming myself with invalidating euphemisms and reminders from well-meaning friends. “You’ll be okay.You can adopt. You don’t really want kids anyway with the world being like it is.” Womp.
Scratch that. I do want kids. I am sad and angry that a part of my body is gone. I wanted to have a baby girl and I wanted to experience pregnancy, childbirth and natural motherhood. That is it and that is all.
I particularly was soothed by Mercer’s “feel to heal.” I have to be real with myself. I have to feel it, acknowledge it, deal with it, rest my mind and body and heal.
Still, I am blessed with reminders from my beloved 80-something Ms. Bert, a family friend and spiritual pillar. After penning my thoughts about change and prayerfully expressing my pain, literally minutes into it, Ms. Bert called. She listened, empathetically. She comforted me with loving reminders of God’s care for me and His ability to strengthen me to endure this loss. Lastly, she encouraged me by recounting the many blessings and reasons for thankfulness I have and that Jah provided–one of them being the ability to have Felicia removed and to feel better after healing. She was right!
Also, while baby feet won’t kick me from the inside of my belly, I have no shortage of little people who kick me with slightly larger feet, usually upside my head or in my shin. From all the little ones in my family to those of my friends around me, I am truly grateful to realize that I am still blessed to be able to pour love and care into many bright-eyed, impressionable gifts from God.
I know this is a process–grieving loss of both literal parts of me and bits of the near future I’d imagined. Yet, the process of embracing love and completeness from other sources, God included, leaves me with a feeling of hope and deep seated joy. Change IS disorienting, but acceptance is settling.