I’ve wanted to write this post for a couple of days. It wasn’t until I saw a line of preschoolers crossing the street while holding onto a rope that I felt inspired because they provided the name of the post. (Yes, sometimes I struggle with writing a post because I can’t come up with a catchy title. That holdover known as my ego expects me to say something profound.)
Anyways, there they were, all bundled in their winter coats, hats, and mittens, being led by an adult who held the rope at the front of the line. Each child held onto the rope with their left hands while walking across the street (in the crosswalk of course) and another adult brought up the rear and held onto the end of the rope.
I wished I’d taken a picture but my position in the line of cars didn’t make a clear shot feasible.
This past week, however, has been like those little preschoolers, escorted, and guarded by adults who guide them along the line of rope. This past week has been challenging as we’ve learned that Eric’s mom must have open heart surgery.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how the universe works in mysterious ways. Eric’s mom had rheumatic fever as a child. So did my dad. Rheumatic fever has a direct impact on the mitral valve in the heart. The mitral valve directs the flow of blood from the left atrium into the left ventricle of the heart. From there blood flows to the aorta and into the body.
My dad had mitral valve replacement surgery twice; once in the late 60’s-early 70’s (I was pretty young and have vague memories of the time line) and again in the late 80’s. And now my mother-in-law is in the same situation. Is it coincidence that Eric and I met, married, and both have one parent with similar medical histories? Is part of this ‘coincidence’ knowing that I’ve been through this situation before and can therefore offer knowledge based on that experience, understanding and emotional support?
And what does this have to do with a bunch of preschoolers holding a rope while they cross the street?
Well, this past week was like trying to hang on to that rope. You put trust in doctors and nurses to guide you in this situation. You remember how your parents were there to guide you and protect you. You watch intentions to stick to a schedule in the studio go flying out the window because making art is the last thing you wanted to do. You try to refocus yourself on paperwork and mundane tasks only to have your thoughts trickle back to the situation at hand.
And then you come to accept that this is the situation. This is the now and you need to be present in order to face it as best as you can.
Once a decision about surgery was made and a schedule in place, we were able to return to some normalcy and it felt quite good to work with clay again. In a couple days we leave to be with Eric’s mom and family. I know my role this time is to offer emotional support; to get food and coffee, tea or soda, to provide a laugh, to say a prayer. I will be following the line of that rope as it guides us through this process.
I don’t expect to be online much next week which means the blog will be quiet during my absence though I may check in on Twitter. Until then.
Photo from http://www.casahamaca.com
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February 9, 2009 at 3:18 pm
I like your description of the children holding onto the rope and what that means to you. And I think your experiences with your Dad going through his heart problems does give you an advantage in this situation. With any new situation, even a scary one, being able to lean on someone who’s “been there” always helps. I pray that Eric’s Mom has a successful surgery and a quick recovery. Love to you from Doug and I.
February 10, 2009 at 7:20 am
You will be adding support, strength caring and much needed love. Best to Eric and family and have a safe journey home. Take time to relax, reflect and think of your next projects!
February 12, 2009 at 10:28 am
Amy, you know I’ll be praying for Gwen. Eric is so lucky to have you by his side, as is the rest of his family.
February 27, 2009 at 4:50 pm
Thanks everyone for your support. We have a long road ahead of us but the support of friends and family makes that road a little easier to travel.
Virtual hugs all around.