Comforting Words: For a Little While

Thursday, August 09, 2007

For a Little While


He was probably just over five feet tall but his presence was felt as he entered the room.

Personally I prefer tall men; however, in this situation height did not matter. Partially naked, pants and panty less, with only a thin sheet barely covering my legs, I was even more aware of him.

His initial question put me a bit on the defensive, “why are you here?” Thinking he must know why I am here, half naked at that, waiting for him, I stammered – something unusual for me – nevertheless in a facetious tone “to speak about options to protect myself, duh?”

We bantered back and forth for a few more minutes, each sizing the other up, until we both finally got where the other was coming from. The strangeness (for him) and the tension (for me) rose like the thick early morning fog on that last leg of the drive to the North coast of my home country Jamaica, through Walker’s Wood to Ocho Rios.

“Lie back and get ready for the time of your life,” he declared and I busted into uncontrollable laughter.

That laugh though would soon leave my lips as my heart did a nose dive as this specialist, who my family doctor referred me to and who I waited almost two months to see, gave me the news.

Twenty long minutes later, walking out of his office I desperately went through my contact list on my not-so-new-anymore toy – my blackberry – to get a hold of someone – anyone – to hold my hand as I allowed this news to sink.

Waiting for Anni to pick up her phone, it crossed my mind that yet again it was an ‘anniversary’ of my most poignant life-changing experience – the tenth month of my single hood. Anni was neither at home nor answering her cell so my daughter was my next call. We have not spoken in a few weeks as she is still mad at me for being the protective mother, so I was not sure she would take my call.

She answered on the ring just before the call would go to voice mail, “Hello?” By now, I was driving in afternoon traffic on my way to work, crying my eyes out, “A, I know you don’t want to chit-chat with me but I am just calling to let you know that I need surgery.” Whether it was my tears or the word ‘surgery’ I do not know but I had her attention and her questions.

My response to her questions would be repeated later to Lance, who I called in New York, needing to talk to an adult and still not being able to reach Anni. An hour later, I would retell the story to Anni who finally returned my call. I also briefly whispered the ‘news’ in the ear of my Spiritual Director, asking for her prayer support, who I saw upon entering the place that gave me sanctuary – work – at the worst time of my life ten months ago.

Many days I have tried to understand what led me to my current place of employment. I have had many different responses – all valid – over the last ten months. This time I knew I am here – in the company of women – to be supported through a time that only another woman who has walked this journey could truly understand its symbolic significance.

She is one of my colleagues, an Aboriginal woman, who is so in tune with my spirit that as I stepped and dropped all $800 of the Isobella Fiore satchel that was gifted to me – just because - she asked me “what’s wrong.”

I explained to her that I met a short man earlier who said being with him was going to be “the time of my life” and that he is an Obstetrician-Gynaecologist. He kept his promise with his announcement after I winced in pain when inserted ‘his-whatever’ into my body and placed his hand on my tummy.

The next few weeks will not be ‘the’ but ‘another time of my life, as I await tests and their results to say whether the thing growing inside of me – currently the size of a 5 month foetus- is cancerous.

Whatever the result, I will be having a hysterectomy before I am 43 and the recovering period is forecasted to be 6 – 8 weeks. The ‘guy’ wants to go in asap but I am hoping for a delay in order to be secure enough in my new job so that I would have earned enough leave time to recover.

And so, one way or another, my planned trip to Jamaica to celebrate my Canadian citizenship, my 43rd birthday and to see my mother has to be postponed.

The shock of this latest development in my journey has me confused, crying and prayerful. I recall a woman in the hospital where I served as Chaplain saying to me “I don’t know why God has so much faith in me,” and today I understood what she meant more than I ever did.

Now I need to cultivate the same faith that the Divine clearly has in my strength.

As such, there might not be any posts here at Comforting Words for the next few weeks or months. Also, my apologies to those who were looking forward to going to Jamaica with me in 2008 but God has other business for me to take care of – me.

Blessings,

Claudette

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