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.

Thank you.

Contributing writers to Facing the Sun: Erica OrloffJude HardinWendy RussJason EvansMichelle Hickman Sarah HinaAmy SaiaAerin Bender-StoneJohn KauffmanKate InglisAlissa GrossoNatasha FondrenTravis ErwinJennifer JosephJ.A. ZobairB. NagelNiki JabbourMark TerryCatherine VibertLaurel MontgomeryPeter DudleySandra CormierMelanie HooyengaMatt ShifelySarah LaurensonStacy ChambersAniket ThakkarStephen ParrishRobin BeckerNancy Bond

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17 Responses to Blessedness

  1. Erica Orloff says:

    Love you, Richard. I was delighted when I saw quite a few friends of mine on the donor list–people who don’t know you but knew you must be “good people.” And that you are. xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  2. j a zobair says:

    Richard, this is a lovely, lovely post.

    But you should know that the people who participated got as much out of it as you did. That there is nothing more rewarding than giving of something that is so important to us — our writing — to help someone so deserving.

    When the three of us talked about a deadline, about how we would need people to provide a piece of writing in a week’s time, I must admit to some despair. Steve joked that we might have three submissions–his, Wendy’s, and mine.

    Oh me of little faith.

    The response was overwhelming, and it is a testament to the beauty of this online writing community, to the affection your writer friends have for you, and — let’s face it — to the charm of Mr. Stephen Parrish.

    The anthology is beautiful because of Wendy, and professionally put together because of Steve. They are surely grateful that I didn’t ruin anything!

    Everyone is so relieved that you are doing so well. Now all we want to know is this:

    What are you writing?

    Take good care!

  3. Michelle H. says:

    It is good to hear that you are doing well, and it was an extreme honor to be asked to contribute a story to this anthology. Rest up, and keep writing.

  4. Richard says:

    Does my nose look fat in that photo?

  5. Oh, this brings tears to my eyes Richard, what a beautiful post. You are a lovely dear soul and deserve to be all better in every way. It was an honor to contribute to your healing in whatever way possible. Thanks for being my friend, and I’m so glad I know you, albeit online, but who cares about that!! You are a wonderful, kind, sweet, and caring human being and I’m glad I know you.

  6. I think my heart just grew a little, even though it’s full to bursting. Heal well, Richard. At least now you don’t have to try poutine again.

  7. sweetsalty kate says:

    Oh, there you are. :)

  8. Aniket says:

    I was scared to contribute thinking someone would demand their money back(and then some) once they read my piece. And I’m not trying to come out as needy for appreciation here. If you see other folks in the company, feeling intimidated is just logical. It has been a long time that I wrote anything read-worthy. Thankfully, Super Sarah came to rescue with her magic wand for proof-reading and make everything okay.

    That said, I’m grateful to Wendy, Steve and she-who-must-not-be-famed that they thought of including me in the process. It was a privilege and honor to be a part of something so great.

    I shared the same joy of being surrounded by angels when I saw a couple of names on the wall, of friends that have never met me in person either. There’s still some hope for mankind (or person-kind as Jaz would have it).

    Please convey my regards to Kristina for taking time out for keeping us informed during the tiring times. I can tell she’s awesome.

    Take care, friend.

  9. Michelle H. says:

    You know what they say about the camera. It adds 20 pounds. ;)

  10. Richard, your strength is an inspiration. Get better in good time.

  11. Guilie says:

    So glad the operation went well, Richard, and that you came through it to the knowledge that so many people love you and care about your well-being. Speedy recovery!

  12. Sarah Hina says:

    So glad you made it through with your writing skills intact. :)

    Wendy, JAZ, and Steve all deserve your gratitude. As for the rest of us, we know you’d have done the same for us. We’re just happy to see you smiling on the other side.

    Take care, Richard. Get well.

  13. Jaz was the motor, Wendy was the designer, and Nancy Bond’s photographs made the thing beautiful. This was enormous fun. As I said before, you should have an operation more often.

  14. I want to touch on something J A Zobair said:

    But you should know that the people who participated got as much out of it as you did.

    Your friendship, the emotion behind this post, and knowing you’re getting better make the emotional payoff much greater than my small investment. That’s a testament to you my friend.

  15. Wendy says:

    That Stephen Parrish, always with the modesty.

    Richard, I’m sure it’s a relief to be back home and have some good health to look forward to.

  16. Christina says:

    Richard,thank you so much for this blog! I hope you continue to get well. I have had Diabetes Insipidus for two years now and it was quite refreshing to read your blog. I thank you for that…….christina

  17. Laurel says:

    Hugs and cheers! :)

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