Erik and I want to send you all gifts of love and light at this, the darkest time of year. Whatever you celebrate with your friends and family, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, Kwanzaa, Festivus, or Competitive Pie Gorging, we wish you all the very best.
I wanted to take this moment to thank you all for your love and prayers since my aortic dissection on November 25th. (It’s been a whole month already? Time flies when you’re on narcotics!) I feel like I have been held aloft by love all this while, and have been humbled, amazed and moved to tears by the kindness shown to me by everyone, from complete strangers, from surprising quarters, from my nearest and dearest. My survival of this event is a miracle, flat out. And I don’t know how to process that, except to live forward in deep gratitude.
It is not easy for me to write yet–the brain moves slowly and protests at too much labor. I’ve wanted to tell my story here, because so many people want to know more about what happened to me, but I’ve realized it might be a while before I can write that much. However, I can talk, so Erik and I will be doing a podcast about our adventure very soon.
But I wanted to share one thing here and now, partly because I know many people don’t like to listen to podcasts, and partly because it is perhaps the most important lesson I learned in all this, and it seems particularly relevant during the holiday season, when we gather with our friends and relatives.
On Black Friday, in the emergency room, when they figured out what was going on with me, the atmosphere became suddenly very grim indeed. The surgeons told me I would be operated on as soon as they could prep the room, and that it was basically the most serious surgery that could be done and that I may not survive it. After they left, the sweet nurse in pink scrubs who’d been with me all night said to me, with tears in her eyes, “Honey, I’ve been a nurse for a long time and…well, you need to call your loved ones. Now.”
Okay, so imagine being in this position. Imagine having to call your mom and tell her, in roundabout terms, that you might be dying soon. You may not see her again. To be sure, many are not even granted that much grace before dying, but my point here is that there are no words. Words are simply inadequate in moments like this. I don’t know who can summon eloquence in a crisis, and “I love you”, however true, seems hollow and of cold comfort when you think it may be your last time saying it, and it must somehow hold the entire weight of your regard for that person.
So the lesson here is to live every day like you are dying, so no words are necessary when the end comes, and those you love will know very well that they were loved fiercely every day that you drew breath. Never let them doubt it.