I promised my brother Lenny that I would not write a post today about his surgery. I promised I wouldn’t tell you that today the doctors are going to open his head and try to resolve three aneurisms. I promised him that I would not write and ask for prayers or give you play by play updates. He asked me not to post anything at all. Why? Because unlike me, he is a very private person. And he doesn’t like or want or need all of Facebook knowing his business or seeing what he looks like in a hospital gown. Me on the other hand, I want you to know that I had a donut for breakfast and ice cream for dinner and see every new outfit I’m wearing, even if it were to be a hospital gown. We are much different people, Lenny and myself.
So out of respect to him, this post is not about Lenny, it’s about ME. As Toby Keith sang, “I wanna to talk about me, wanna to talk about I,…”
Today I need your prayers and your thoughts and every good vibe you can send.
I know deep in my heart that God is in the midst of this day and in the midst of my fear. I really do.
But hospital surroundings are not kind to the senses and not a fun place to spend the day. There are loud buzzes that make you jump and doors that open and close loudly and keep you out. Because behind them lives hang in the balance. This is not Disneyland with fun colors and rollercoasters and the smell of cotton candy. Everything is white or grey. The smell is a mix of cleaning supplies and cafeteria food. And I believe they have purposefully made waiting room couches uncomfortable. Why, I do not know.
But this is my job today. As a sister, as a friend.
To sit and believe that all things work together for good. All things. Not just some things. All things, even brain aneurisms.
I saw a bit of the good last night, when I looked into my brother’s eyes and I told him I loved him. I mean really looked. So often we tell people casually that we love them or care about them as they are walking out the door. “Love you, bye!” But last night I looked in his eyes and made sure he knew how much I loved him and how thankful I am that he saved my life. (And I also told him that if the unimaginable happened and he was no longer walking on this planet that I totally expect him to rattle coffee cups to let me know he’s okay.)
Lenny truly did save my life. I was only twenty-six when I sat in his kitchen table in Garfield Heights Ohio in the small bungalow that he and his wife Gail and two kids, Nichole and Chris, lived in. He was just a few years sober in his own journey. At that table I cried. A lot. And I told him how scared and confused I was and how very much I didn’t think I wanted to be alive. And he listened.
He didn’t judge me. He shared his knowledge about dysfunction and codependency and forgiveness.
He told me things like, “Today you are exactly where you need to be. You are doing all the right things by being honest and admitting that you are powerless and that you need help. Life is a journey and this is part of it.” These were new concepts from me at the time, but they sunk in deep and have become a part of my belief system forever. He also told me, “I over E when it involves C. Intellect over emotion when it involves a crisis.” This will be a hard one to follow today, but I will try. I sat at the table too many times to count. I memorized the shape of the grain in the wood. And I cried and grew. Lenny was a rock and a pillow. He became the person who would stand strong and hold me up, but he also became a soft place the land. A place where I could rest my weary mind and broken heart.
We all have people in our lives whom we love. And then we all have ‘those people’.
The people to whom you are connected at the deepest of place in your soul.
Lenny is one of my soul people. And I need God to guide that doctors hand this morning. I need his doctor to have had just enough coffee but not too much. I need the doctor to be having his best day possible as he operates on my brother’s brain. This is my prayer this morning. This is my surrender. I know that it is out of my hands. I know that I must let go and trust that by the time the sun sets today, Lenny’s three aneurisms will be resolved and I can go back to finding yet another ice cream place to eat at for dinner.
In the end, I’m sure Lenny will be angry about this post. But I consider it repercussion for all the childhood angst he put me through. For putting rocks in my stocking on Christmas morning and flipping wet kitchen towels at my thighs as I walked by and for holding me down and tickling my stomach until I cried. Paybacks are a bitch.
Who is at your table today? Who will you welcome with open arms and non-judgement?
Or maybe you need to be sitting next to someone who will hold you in their space and love you.
I risk Lenny’s disappointment today because I know that you, my extended family, will sit with me today at this table, in this moment, in the midst of my fear and tears, and be rocks and pillows. Look into the eyes of your soul people today. Tell them you love them. Xo
P.s. We are on the hunt for cool and unique hats for him to wear this summer. I know, hats in the summer – who scheduled this wardrobe challenge?