Photo credit: The Expat Princess, University of Florida Natural History Museum, Butterfly Rainforest
Fifteen years ago today I broke my ankle in several parts in my living room in Brazil. We had moved there two months earlier. My household possessions had still not arrived.
It took my mother two weeks to get to Brazil (she needed to get a visa) but then she stayed for ten weeks to take care of me and my family. Can you imagine giving up ten weeks of your life to nurse a bedridden, super cranky daughter? In a foreign country? She left Big Mike alone to fend for himself for 7 weeks. He was gracious about lending her to us.
Sally did have a driver, housekeeper, and a personal trainer so she was not feeling too sorry for herself. She cooked, picked up the three year old from nursery school, supervised homework, and brought me diet chocolate and two whiskeys every evening, one at 6 p.m. and one at 7. (I was not given any pain killers when I left the hospital). She and Mr. Understanding wrangled me into the shower every couple of days, a garbage bag up to my hip. When I bathed my mother after her surgery, my thoughts returned to this most hideous period of my life and how generous she was with me.
And this I would say is the joy that cometh after a dark period. One is never the same. Being still and knowing Who Is In Charge fundamentally changes one in ways indefinable – until the next period of darkness. It creates patience. Endurance. Empathy and sympathy. The kindness of virtual strangers and love of family members does carry one through. I am a better person because of a broken ankle. I will be a better wife, mother, and daughter because of this broken heart. We learn by doing.
I did not cry this morning in yoga when Amazing Grace came on over the speakers.