Only the Lonely

29 Apr

(My daily blog posts were interrupted by  a family crisis. I am continuing on my blog post a day with this one —18 days later.}

Blog Post #20

forest1We were sitting in the hospital room, laughing, telling a joke — it was funny. We were having a moment of levity, one of the few in an anxious week. We were waiting — waiting for test results to come in, waiting to be moved to a different room, waiting for the doctors to figure out what was going on with my daughter. My two girls and I, giggling with each other — I don’t even remember what we found so hilarious. My husband had escaped us for a bit of quiet, he had slipped out to the ward lobby to read a few pages of his book in peace.

One of the hospitalists came in — she was young, sweet, conscientious — and a favourite of my daughter. We paused at her entrance, expectantly, hoping for answers — good answers. She began to speak — she had looked at the MRI, it showed something unexpected — it looked bad…she stated  the dreaded word — CANCER.

My world collapsed. Just like that.

I heard her voice as if she were in a tunnel — my heart dropped into my belly, I couldn’t see — I felt as if I would start to scream, rant, faint… I suddenly realized that my husband wasn’t there and it was crucial that he be there, that he hear these words, witness our destruction.

That day was bad…

That is an understatement — it was the worst day…

I felt everything change — colours dimmed, time slowed — I felt emptied out, hollow, one-dimensional — I was devastated, afraid, hopeless, lost and alone.

My heart was in my throat, I could feel it beating — it hurt — a deep, plunging, aching hurt. I couldn’t fathom it, I couldn’t think — my brain was frozen — I had no thoughts, just feelings.

The following 24 hours was a quieter extension of that worst day. The deepest emotion I felt, was loneliness. It was surprising, since I was surrounded by people who loved me — my husband, both of my daughters, many, many friends who wanted nothing more than to wrap me in tender embraces of comfort and support.

I felt alone, a deep loneliness — a quiet, dark, numbing pain. A gaping void engulfing my entire being.

I failed to understand how the world kept turning, how people could be walking about, not realizing the utter uselessness of the intricacies of life. I felt like I was made of stone   — cold and heavy.

Alone. I realized that I had never truly experienced loneliness. THIS was loneliness — the feeling that no one could comprehend the depth of my despair. THIS was loneliness — the hopelessness that I could not even begin to express. The weight that restrained my ability to accept the comfort, love, and support that was offered — the wretched feeling that I was lost, lost to everyone around me.

Lost. Alone. Lonely.

Then numbness — for five long days — I hid the loneliness behind an encompassing numbness that allowed me to function, comfort my daughters and my husband, smile — even laugh. A numbness that protected my heart, my soul.

But we were lucky — my daughter was lucky — after her surgery, a miracle. Her mass was pronounced benign. The relief was immediate — I felt a burst of joy and gratitude as I hugged the doctor tightly.

But the loneliness lingered — I felt strange — it still feels strange. My world has changed, has shifted a little out of balance.

It has been 11 days now, since we received the good news (although, we are still waiting for the final pathology report) and I am slowly returning to normal, my world regaining its equilibrium. My girl is healing, recovering quickly and getting stronger each day. I am eternally grateful for this.

I know I will be okay. I am forever changed by this experience, but I am coming back into myself. The loneliness is receding, fading and I know that eventually the feeling will be gone. I will be left with a new understanding of what loneliness, heartbreak, hopelessness, and potential loss really mean.

There is the solitude of suffering, when you go through darkness that is lonely, intense, and terrible. Words become powerless to express your pain; what others hear from your words is so distant and different from what you are actually suffering. ~ John O’Donohue


Brynne’s Daily Drawing #20

Brynne's Daily Drawing #20




2 Responses to “Only the Lonely”

  1. Donna Kirk May 3, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

    well written Catherine! I could understand your loneliness and you are the only one who could describe your pain. I am very thankful this ended well but it does change a person..oh yes! Blessings to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cgjohnston May 3, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

      Thank you, Donna. It was difficult to go through for sure. I am so grateful that it ended well. My heart goes out to those whose experience was much more difficult and with a tragic end. I think of your heartache, Donna, and send you lots of love and comfort. I love reading your blog posts – keep writing – you are an inspiration! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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