Today is my 65th day in the hospital. Today I broke down in tears. Sobbing, uncontrollable tears. I would even venture to say that I was weeping. But not for the reason that you would think---not because of the profound sadness and difficulty permeating hospital life---but because of the profound joys that hospital life has afforded me. Because of the cherished moments I’ve had here and how it has truly deepened my appreciation for my husband, my son, my mother, my sisters, and the countless others who have been my pillars of strength.
The catalyst for this reaction was a text message I received this morning upon waking up. It was simple; just a picture of our son, Gideon, sitting on a toy he got for his birthday. But for me there was nothing simple about it. For me this picture encapsulated so many precious things. There he was, sitting on a toy, his feet flat on the ground, a smile stretched across his face, his eyes completely squinty and the vein on his neck poking out. I am certain that 9 weeks ago there is no way he could have sat on that toy with his feet touching the ground. I am also certain that I have never ever seen him smile so big. You know those days when you smile so hard your cheeks hurt? But you can’t stop smiling? I’m pretty certain that it was that type of smile.
I know, I know, a picture of my smiling son is great and all, but what was so special about this picture? How could it elicit so many strong feelings inside my heart? First of all, it came from my husband. Almost every morning my husband sends me text messages with pictures of my son. It wasn’t something we talked about beforehand; it wasn’t something I requested of him. It was just something he started doing for me. He just knew that I needed it. What a simple act of love on his part!
Second, the toy he was sitting on was a birthday present from two of the nurses here at the hospital. Not only did those nurses chip in on the gift, but they helped cut through hospital policy red tape so that we could have a birthday party right here in my room. Many of the nurses helped decorate the room and brought presents and made it a special event. They all understood how important it was that I be a part of my son’s celebration. So yes, I might let a few tears of appreciation fall every time I see that toy and no, I do not have a problem admitting that.
Third, (as evidenced in the picture) my son is a healthy, happy, growing boy. Despite the fact that I am not there to see it or influence it, he is being nurtured and loved and fed and given everything I could hope to give him if I could be home with him. This is due largely to the sacrifices of my husband, my mother, and my sister. I honestly don’t think that my sanity would be intact if it weren’t for the fact that they have all changed their lives around to accommodate taking care of Gideon.
The best part of all of this? A text I literally just received from my husband---
“Do you ever get that feeling of joy that just sort of wells up occasionally and you’re instantly thankful and warm and happy about me and life in general?”
Why yes, I absolutely do!
I have so many things to be grateful for because of my hospital stay and the picture only demonstrates a very small number of those things. One day I hope to be able to adequately express my gratitude to everyone who has given me a cherished moment while I’ve been here (and there are many of you!) but for now this post will have to suffice.