Well, that was unexpected.
The performance at the church went well, but I was surprised to be asked if it was okay to come up to the front so the speaker could briefly regard my return. It was, after all, the first time I’d played there since Good Friday. I guess I was too focused on how I’d do and neglected to acknowledge this myself.
I didn’t say yes at first. It was weird enough being there, as it brought me back to the beginning – places have a way of doing that. But this particular group of people had made a huge impact on my recovery. Would it have turned out differently if they hadn’t all been praying for me along with my family and friends? Who knows. But I recall that I had felt the power of faith and positive thought for the first time, and it was real.
So my only thought that Saturday morning was get through the music and keep an eye on my energy levels. After my fall, I didn’t know what to expect so I just stayed alert and occasionally touched the walls for reassurance as I walked through dark areas to the stage. Was I tired or was it recovery exhaustion? I can’t tell yet. Maybe in a year I’ll know for sure.
The first time I walked up to the front was, I admit, a little scary. First of all, coming from the back of the stage to the front was quite an experience – just a little more exposed, and I was glad I had requested not to speak. There were over a thousand people present, and it was very intimidating. He went through the highlights of the story, condensing the parts I had told him into a tidy little segment that ended with both of us almost crying. The second service went a little easier. There were audible gasps following “and just two days later she was having brain surgery to remove a tumor!” and just a little longer applause than the last time. I looked across the auditorium and smiled a little smile.
I’ve come to accept life as a series of unexpected events, and this was just one of the more pleasant surprises. This new dent towards the front of my head, not so much. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, I guess.
I had been requested to not eat after midnight, so I complied, forgetting that I was probably not going to eat until the next day as the operation was scheduled so late in the afternoon. Luckily I slept until about 2:00, when people started showing up.
All my worlds were coming together in the waiting room. Arriving at different times were my twin brother from Chicago, my best friend from Ann Arbor, a bandmate from church and a keyboard player from my cover band that had disbanded last winter. Also, the two founders of the company I worked for, including the CEO. I guess they’ll see me at my worst, I thought, as I walked arm in arm with my husband and pulling my IV.
It was like a big party, with no one actually addressing the surgery and their shared concern for my well-being. Instead, different topics were being discussed, and everyone took turns sitting next to me. One of the founders gifted me with an expensive looking box of colored pencils and two coloring books, one inspired by depictions of celebrities with bizarre surreal imagery. He also gave me a short stack of graphic novels (we have similar tastes), which I couldn’t wait to get to.
A vase of salmon orange roses resided on a corner table next to me, in perfect bloom. Occasionally someone would notice their unusual color and comment on their beauty. It added a little class to the room and offered cheer. If this was the last time I was going to see everyone in a normal state of mind, I was quite happy with the outcome.
Finally it was time for me to go. Good-byes were said, I-love-you’s and hugs were passed liberally around, but thankfully no tears. My husband, twin, best friend and both moms would join the rest of my immediate family in the surgery waiting room until I got to pre-op. I was taken back to my regular room, tucked in and wheeled down to surgery. I re-experienced that relaxed, floating feeling of being in other people’s care.
Bahala na, as the Filipino expression goes. Whatever will be will be.