A few hours after my operation, I wept.
Yes, I was a simmering kettle of emotion. My neurosurgeon had recently informed me that my pituitary adenoma was massive, much bigger than expected, but he quickly added that the operation had gone well, so I was relieved. A few minutes later, I looked upon the faces of Kristina and two sisters, happy that my eyesight had been preserved.
As the grogginess evaporated, it seemed like I could taste and smell blood, so I imagined those vital senses would deepen with time and healing.
I took a few minutes to ensure that I could remember my life, and the lovely people in it.
Yet, inside, I was barely under control. My blood oxygen was low, and I struggled for air. With a silicon shunt in my sinuses to protect the wounds, my nose was so packed with blood that I could not breathe through it, and the very thought of lasting another two weeks so encumbered was daunting. The mental control I had to devote to this simple task was substantial, and I found myself frightened and frighteningly alone.
Perhaps all of that would be enough for tears.
But it was not.
My tears were not a sign of relief or fear, but of blessedness. They touched on revelation and unreserved happiness. They spoke of community and kindness. They reached to the heavens, but lived here with me on Earth.
They relieved me of a burden I did not know that I carried.
And they surprised the hell out of me.
What’s funny is that I knew Writers for Richard was coming. A few weeks before surgery, J.A. Zobair asked if I would mind if she worked with Steve Parrish and Wendy Russ to build a fundraising campaign to help us pay the bills during my two-month recovery. So I wasn’t surprised when many around me were. Yet when I visited the website, read the dedication, saw the dozens of editorial contributors and donors, I felt like untold years of cynicism and discouragement were lifted from my weary shoulders.
So, when my family left me to rest, I found that I could not. I wept with pure joy, for a gift that pulled one very tired soul back into the land of the living.
Over the next few days, I returned often to read the names of people I knew, and people who were strangers. I saw a few cherished names from real life, but most were online friends and kind people I haven’t yet met. I traced lines of connection from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to other places in Canada, to the United States, to Europe, to Asia, and to Australia. I learned that I’m not alone, that people are beautiful.
I learned that love, actually, is everywhere.
So my words here are humble and heartfelt. Thank you. Each and every one of you. Thank you.
You’ve changed my life. You’ve turned a fortnight of challenges into fourteen days of blessedness that I will never forget.
Contributing writers to Facing the Sun: Erica Orloff • Jude Hardin • Wendy Russ • Jason Evans • Michelle Hickman • Sarah Hina • Amy Saia • Aerin Bender-Stone • John Kauffman • Kate Inglis • Alissa Grosso • Natasha Fondren • Travis Erwin • Jennifer Joseph • J.A. Zobair • B. Nagel • Niki Jabbour • Mark Terry • Catherine Vibert • Laurel Montgomery • Peter Dudley • Sandra Cormier • Melanie Hooyenga • Matt Shifely • Sarah Laurenson • Stacy Chambers • Aniket Thakkar • Stephen Parrish • Robin Becker • Nancy Bond