the gift of healing

In Inspiration

The day after Thanksgiving I had back surgery — long-anticipated, wished-for, dreamed-of back surgery.  I’m not sure other people get excited when their doctor recommends surgery, but I was as ready as ready could be.  I wanted to be free from pain after nearly a year of it,  and turn my life from focusing on a negative pain-filled past to a positive pain-free future.

I spent a beautiful Thanksgiving day with family and friends, went in for surgery on Friday morning, and came home that afternoon after a short stay in the recovery room.   My husband took beautiful care of me over the weekend, serving me tea, lifting and bending when I couldn’t, making me comfortable.  The first few days were challenging with a lot of pain and fatigue, but we got through it.

And then my husband went back to work, and I was alone in quiet recovery.

I realized then that in my entire adult life I had not spent a full week mostly alone, with no work, no plans, no kids, no chores, no errands, no obligations of any kind. Home alone, in a healing space, with only myself to decide the pace of the day.  Such a gift.

My first priority was to heal, and so: self care — naps, ice, heat, tea, soup.  (That leftover Thanksgiving turkey came in handy.)

Being home with no obligations also meant that I could do anything and everything that felt healing and good.  Reading, cooking, dusting (ok : weird I know — I love dusting), ironing everything in sight (because standing felt really good and took pressure off my spine).  Finishing old sewing projects.  Listening to the ticking of the many antique clocks in our house, which matched the slow beat of my healing.  Getting ready for the holidays.  Making cookies.  Napping.  Wrapping Christmas gifts.  Napping.  And so on.  The pace was completely dictated by my body, and what it needed next.

Then there were prescribed daily walks that fed my soul, even those first few days through gritted teeth. Better now, a week or so in.

But the biggest and best part of my days this last week has been the gift of SILENCE.  Of STILLNESS.  Of not setting a schedule for myself, only responding to my body to know what I needed.  No music, no TV,  no distractions. Except for the ticking of the clocks, I have been alone in the silence, and I can think of no better healer than that.  Just the quiet of healing, of mending, of becoming whole again.

I hope next time you need some healing, whether it be body, mind, or soul, you will give yourself the gift of silence and stillness.  It is powerful medicine.

much love:  –lucy

5 Comments

  1. Hi Lucy,
    First of all, I am in love with those two photos from your walks – so serene and somehow the picture of contentment.

    I am happy to hear that you are on the mend, and as a person who also suffers with chronic back pain, I can appreciate your eagerness for surgery and relief! Your story, of the quiet time of healing, reminds me of a time in my own life. Many years ago I had breast cancer and on the day of my surgery I was looking forward to several weeks of healing in the way you describe. On that very day, my then six-year old son fell from the Monkey Bars and broke his arm! The next six weeks were all about him – learning to navigate life with a cast and requiring lots of extra help. Now that he is grown and I am cancer-free, we laugh over this story. But, after reading your essay today, I think I am long overdue for my healing. Surely this winter will provide such a season. Thank you for sharing your beautiful artful life.

    • Oh my gosh. It sounds like you came through it ok, but I agree that you are long overdue for some quiet self care time. Thanks so much for your thoughtful and generous comments.

  2. Dear Lucy, I am so glad you were able to have such a lovely gift of making space for your healing and I hope you continue to feel stronger each day. I was grateful for the slow, quiet days of healing during the summer of my surgery for ovarian cancer and agree with you on the importance of slowing down and listening to your body. As an extra bonus for me (we have no central air conditioning) that summer was our coolest on record, which was the icing on the cake! Your photographs are lovely and I envy you the soothing sound of your many antique clocks.

    • Thank you so much Grace, and I hope that you are well now. Thank goodness for cool summers. I hope you had lovely quiet respite in a shady spot. xo

  3. I am so glad to hear it all went well.
    And I always love seeing the world through your eyes. I can feel the silence! x

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