Friday, February 3, 2012

A Year and a Day

They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows ...

~Edward Lear, from his poem The Owl and the Pussycat

It's been a year and a day. Exactly 366 days have come and gone since my husband Jon underwent open heart surgery and had a mechanical mitral valve put into his heart. The story of how he came to need a second open heart surgery just 18 months after the first one and of how he came to receive a rather miraculous healing that brought him back from the brink of death two times is one we've told over and over in the past year that I wonder if it will ever cease to amaze me.

So many times during that long period of medical mayhem I thought we had come to the end. I would anticipate healing and health, which was my hope on the morning of February 2nd as we waited for Jon's surgery to begin. I anticipated that within a short period of time he would be feeling better. I had no idea that sickness would continue to last through the spring. Jon was so sick that there were many days when I feared we were coming to an end, the final earthly ending. There were nights of endless tears, days of endless prayers, moments when I felt as if my very body were being ripped apart with the pain of losing this man who had become my other half. I grasped for shreds of hope as I pleaded heart and soul for a happy ending to our story.

One particular conversation with Jon's doctor stuck out in my head, and I clung tightly to his words, hoping they were prophetic, yet fearing they would never come to pass.

"This healing will be slow, but I believe that in the fall Jon will be like a new man ... full of health and energy. And by this time next year this will all be just a bad memory."

In the fall ... healing.
In a year ... a bad memory.

I repeated them to myself like a mantra on the worst days:

In the fall ... healing.
In a year ... a bad memory.

I pondered them quietly on Jon's better days:

In the fall ... healing.
In a year ... a bad memory.

As it turns out, Jon's doctor was mostly right. In the fall, we noticed that Jon was practically a new man. He was gaining weight and feeling energetic. His coloring was good. It came to pass that in the fall there was healing.

And now we've come to the second marker for a year has passed. But this is where Jon's doctor was wrong. There is nothing left to this story but a memory, only it's not a bad memory as was suggested. Rather the memory of those dark days are bittersweet. I certainly don't want to go back and relive that time. I'm glad that they have come to an ending, and a happy ending at that. But the memories of how God blessed us, worked through others to love us, showed Himself near to us, and bonded us together in a way I never dreamed possible ... well, all I can say is that the memories of those days are so very precious to my heart that I would never wish that we had not gone through that time.

Last night as I realized we were at this unusual anniversary, the thought came to me that this is the place where the Bong-tree grows ... a place of contentment, of peace. The journey on the unknown sea has ended, at least for now, and there is this island moment of rest and reprieve. Because of the journey I cherish these days, for Jon and I are together.

"Hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon.
They danced by the light of the moon."

~Edward Lear, from the poem The Owl and the Pussycat


  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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  2. Thank you, Susan! I really appreciate your compliment. I enjoy writing, but having readers is just an extra blessing for me to enjoy as well. :)