Hey sweet one, wanted you to know how necessary you have been to the introduction of my new knees to my old body and the healing that must take place in order for us to get along in the active life I long for and miss so much. Getting these two new knees has not been an easy road and although I knew it would be challenging there have been some days that I had to lean on you more than I thought I’d need to. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret having the surgery and am happy everyday to report that the chronic, achy, “migraine in my knees” kind of pain is gone! I have no more osteoarthritis and my legs are straight. I’m taller, Will! Not quite the Jana Hart kind of tall, but for the record — I. Am. Taller. And, the cowboy boots I wore to Dina’s special dinner looked awesome, not that you’d really care about that.
This month has been one that I’ve had to lean on you so much more than usual. I have felt you near me, have heard you whisper, “C’mon Mom. Climb on my back. I bet I can give you a piggy back?” Then my reply to you and I’ve even said it out loud, “Uh. No. Climbing on your back is not gonna happen.” “Why?” you say. “Because that would just be weird and strong and mighty as you are, Will, you don’t need me on your back.” So instead and just the way I like it, I have your hands in mine — sometimes just one, but at times both of them. Your hands are warm and a bit wiggly, but I kinda always liked that. Being still was not really one of your strong attributes. (Nor was being quiet, however, I think that’s one of the things that made you so likeable amongst your peers.)
One of the most difficult parts of this and one that I am a bit surprised has hit me as hard as it has is the depression that is common to the post-surgical healing process. Before surgery the medical team did talk about it and they stressed that there would be resources available to support me through it should I need it. I consider myself “quite” aware of depression and how it can rear itself in my body and in my mind but it goes to show that knowing about and being aware of depression doesn’t mean you don’t experience it. The reality of the weeks and months of healing and the patience and work that it requires isn’t surprising – that wouldn’t be the right word – maybe restrictive is the better way to explain it. And with restriction comes feelings of isolation that in turn affect my self-esteem… then along comes some feelings of worthlessness… and round and round it goes. The days can be too long, Will.
After my surgery, while still in hospital a social worker stopped by my room and we had a chat about how I was feeling post surgery and what kinds of thoughts and feelings could present once I went home. We talked about depression and PTSD and I shared my story of losing you and how I knew first hand what depression and PTSD was. She listened while I shared my belief that as a mother who’d lost a child there would never be anything worse in my life or nothing that I could not handle going forward. My certainty in those words is as strong as it will ever be and that is what gets me through the sometimes dark moments of depression when I wonder just for a moment where I will find the strength to overcome the feelings of “I don’t know if I can”. It felt a little like the table had been turned when it was she who shed a few tears and we even laughed for a moment about it; how it was she who’d been given a takeaway moment instead of she delivering one to me. You see, Will, she was a Mom too. “Your healing road will have bumps and hurdles,” she said, “but you’ll be just fine.” And, I’ve no double that I will be.
You, little blue, are my inner strength. It is you that pulls me up, that gives me the extra uuumph that I need to heal these knees and get on with it. Your whispers, “C’mon Mom” and your hands in mine are the ever-present reminders that my new knees and I will get to know each other and we’ll be just fine.
Love you, Will. Like a bus, of course. With brand, new wheels!