The robins have come back to our little mountain town in Montana. Every year when I spot the first one, I feel chosen. I feel grateful that we are something to return home to or at least something that isn’t considered a threat to animal instinct and migration patterns. Every morning, I open the door to the darkish Big Sky and take three deep breaths. After a winter of these mornings where we are frozen into dormancy and my breaths sting in my nostrils, now in March I linger on the front porch and look at how winter is coming apart. The snow is waning in the grass, pulling back to reveal last fall’s detritus; a lost sneaker…a trowel…a deflated beach ball. And it’s funny, as much as I have longed for warmth and sun, riding my horse in the woods, and the feel of lake water on my skin, now that I know the freeze is behind me, I drag a bit. I’m not sure I want to come alive again just yet. I have a novel to finish writing. I don’t want to deal with last Fall’s lack of yard pick up. I’m not quite ready to tend the blooms of my garden which will soon come in profusion. I just want to sleep a little longer. One more week.
Today’s Breaking Point story is about new life. It invites us to see how we resist it, and in the end, if we choose to live, we must welcome it as gift and even rescue. Even when it’s scary. yrs. Laura
Submitted by: Tracy McAlister Mackay, who blogs here.
“Nice Is Not True Anymore”
An impromptu lunch: we drive along a quiet sunlit island road and my life stops. A slow/quick whoosh sound/feeling goes through my body, out of the blue. Then black. The lights of my life are switched off.
“I think I am fainting.” I don’t want to scare my children. “I think I need to go to a hospital” I say to my husband who knows I hate hospitals. I hate needles. IV’s going into my veins, I avoided in both pregnancies. I have fainted at the thought. Intermittently, over the years, everyone faints – right?
We go home. It is disturbingly wrong, this feeling. I lie down. I know how to relax but this irregular, physical, fearfulness envelops me. It takes too long to subside.
“We won’t be long, just going for a few tests,” leaving our teenage children at home at the end of the workday.
I am connected to a monitor in a cardiologist’s office. Within minutes he asks me: “Has anyone ever mentioned…electrical block in your heart?” or words to that effect. Instantly, I feel very small and weak. I feel my husband’s look. I quietly say “No.”
I receive news I never want to hear. Admission to hospital is immediate.
“No,” I say in a voice of distress.
‘NO!!’ I hear in my head. ‘NO my children are at home alone– close family are scattered worldwide.’
A wheel chair awaits us. The movie has now begun; I am a character and audience all in one.
“Things like this don’t happen to Tracy,” my sister says later.
The Intensive Care Unit becomes a hotel suite in my mind, ‘I need this, I have been so tired lately’. The signs on the walls, a blur of Greek and English, are clues but we don’t see them, my husband and I.
The needles and IV’s no longer contain fear. I need to sleep, awakened often by alarms. The heart rate monitor shows numbers that seem very low. I won’t look. I decide to trust.
A whirlwind trip begins through the streets, roundabouts and highways of my life for 7 years. I lay with the gentle flow of oxygen caressing my nostrils.
‘What’s that noise, Tracy?” my husband asks from a distance, checking in from work, the school run and hospital visit complete. The ambulance siren answers.
My Swedish friend prays, I know… ‘Be still and know that I am God’ sings in my mind, the soundtrack of my new journey. I see streams of cars halted as we race to Nicosia, the capital. I will not leave until I receive my new normal.
“Are you ready?” they asked, as they wheel me off.
‘NO’ I shout in my head and think, ‘You should be nice, Tracy.’ I stare at my husband and the medics looking back at me. I nod. A pacemaker implant is the lifesaver, they agree. Nice is not true anymore.
Life has taken a tectonic shift. Wires are placed, through a tiny hole in my wrist, into my heart. I doze in and out of this movie that has now become a reality…
The little titanium object is meticulously placed in a pocket above my breast by a cardiologist who stitches the neatest of lines. Needles and thread no longer have the same meaning for the textile artist lying there. My tools of art become the tools to save my life.
It is finished.
“Hallelujah,” I say out loud to my cardiologist, the stranger who now joins the great men in my life. Hallelujah to the new life I will soon discover.
4 months later we built my “Shed with the Chandelier.”