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  • Surati Haarbrucker

Meeting Life with a Grateful Heart



"It" wakes up from a place of velvety warm darkness, weightlessness, stillness, complete peace, the absence of wanting anything... to gentle voices calling a name "I" recognize, asking questions - can you feel this? can you take a breath? It's all good, the surgery is over, we're waking you up... light touches, sounds, activities around this sensation of weight, heaviness, a body... wetness, tears streaming out of eyes in a moment of recognition of this place called "home" and gratitude to be called into life, being born... unable to move at first... a small voice starts repeating "hold my hand, just hold my hand" filling me with such tenderness and more tears... a brief touch of a cool small hand... and then "I" surface, feeling the fullness of it all, surrendered to no hand holding no hand... tears, peace, resting...

The face of the neurosurgeon and his kind words - it's all good, it went really well, we got it all, it's benign, I'm sure... yes, I will call your daughter...

I get to rest amidst the reassuring rhythms and beeps of machines, gentle caring voices, oxygen supporting lungs, medication dripping into vein to support healing and pain control... breathe, stay flat on your back and rest is all that's asked as I drift in and out.

My daughter visits and holds my hand... the sweetest! She feeds me - food from the long-cold hospital lunch tray - anything tastes delicious in that moment - and even more nourishing, the stories from her life, her wonderful funny essence and views on life... delightful! Good friends sit with me at dinner time, holding and stroking my hand (so soothing), gently spoon feeding me, reflecting on medical care, and contemplating the women's marches and dialogues coming about in this new era...

As I lie there, I feel such deep respect and gratitude towards everything and everyone, and especially the staff in the surgical unit - it is so easy to recognize and relate to their deep service, a constant giving, especially when on the receiving end. And I muse how everything in the room was produced by others in service of the same thing... an ongoing, unbroken chain of service so that we all can experience this moment exactly as it is.

During the next night, I witnessed such gentle tender care as nurses clean up patients after bowel mishaps, respectful, patient, soothing - like a mother with a baby... I'm so deeply touched by the kindness that surrounds me.

Each moment is an opportunity to practice this innermost attitude of openness, receptivity, curiosity and awe. Trusting Life. Meeting Life with a grateful heart.


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