I spent one week in a fog of depression. If anyone else has been through it, you’ll know that being alone after surgery can be defeating.
I had been venting to my ex, who had patiently listened to me whine about feeling alone and wondering why my friends didn’t dote on me as I had expected. There were no cards, no offerings of soup and not even cheap flowers from the corner store. Weren’t people supposed to bring you something when you are sick, I asked.
His answer was simple. “You’re not doing yourself any favours by thinking this. Just be glad that they visited.”
At first I was a little annoyed. Visiting was routine. We went out for lunch on a regular day. How could that make me feel special?
But as the words absorbed in my mind, their strength resonated. Was I building up disappointment in my own mind?
I had truly expected to be pampered while I was sick. I was looking for acknowledgement that yes, I had lost a part of my body that is the key to all life. Wasn’t I supposed to expect attention?
But then I realized something – I don’t need attention. I never have.
I was losing sight of who I was – the strong, independent woman who relies on no one, but who is strong enough to lend a hand when others need support. And now I had allowed myself to become weak. A victim of a simple procedure that rendered me healthier and yet I was crying about a host of unmet expectations, built by myself. I was drifting through unhappiness created by me.
Suddenly, the fog lifted and I could see myself again. Was I still disappointed? Yes, I will always feel a little twang of sadness when I look back on this situation. A sappy card would have given me that little bit of bliss that I needed.
So now I know better. When someone is ill, or in a state of recovery, I will show up with a token of thought on my way to visit. Because I have always chosen to live by these words: always treat others the way you want to be treated, even if they don’t.
I’m better now. Still strong and still independent. But wiser.