This is The Day that I always buy myself flowers. Not just any kind of flowers either. Roses. The rest of the year, if I'm splurging on a bouquet to brighten my mood and home, I choose Crazy Daisies. They make my Heart Sing with their vividly colored petals around cheerful yellow centers. Today is different though. It's the Anniversary of a Surgery. A Personal One. What I usually refer to as, "My Stupid Hysterectomy". It made me mad. It got my attention. It changed my Life. For the better. I just didn't know it at the time. It was the Wake Up Call I needed to start Paying Attention to some things I'd let slide. Mostly Myself.
It's been four years now. It hurts a little less as each year passes. I was 35 years old at the time, with two wonderful boys who were little still. My oldest had "just turned" seven and my youngest was three and a half. The worst part of the surgery wasn't anything Physical. It was the Emotional Pain. I still had boxes of baby clothes, infant toys, board books and Gadgets Galore stacked and stored "just in case" we needed them again. I was sort of hoping we would have one more child. Three was the number I'd always had in mind.
It was a good friend, my age and single, who articulated how I was feeling inside when she said, "It's hard, isn't it, realizing that things (or people) we really want aren't ever going to happen?? Even though I am not a parent, I think I can relate, at least on some level, as my desire to have children is finally kicking in, and I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that the reality of it ever occurring is very slim. I guess it sort of feels like a loss, doesn't it?? Even though you aren't losing someone, you are losing the possibility of someone. Why does that hurt so much??"
Before and shortly after surgery I tried to sort through, separate and allocate where the Baby Stuff would go. What I should save for Future Nieces and Nephews, designate as donations to local charities and what was sellable at a future garage sale. I couldn't do it. I was a mess of weepy tears every time I tried. Finally I Set It All Aside. Packed it up and got it out of sight. Moved to the back of the closet and boxes lining the garage shelves.
Time Heals though. Even the Wounds That Can't Be Seen. On the first anniversary of my surgery I Did It. I went through All Of It. Unpacked, sorted, repacked, labeled and hauled it to my trunk for delivery here, there and yonder. Then it was done. Gone. Over. I didn't shed a tear. I was getting stronger. Moving away from one Dream toward another that isn't defined aloud even now.
At the time my oldest son, always a thinker, wanted to understand what the surgery was about. What they were going to do to me? I drew a diagram with a uterus, explaining it's purpose, and hooked on the fallopian tubes and ovaries for Good Measure. Gave him a quick biology lesson in terms he could understand. I told him what they were going to take out I didn't need anymore. That I'd be the same on the outside and just short a few parts on the inside. That settled his nerves.
Funny thing is, after surgery I did Two Things to Help Myself through it. The first is I started wearing eye makeup again. Now, I realize this sounds ridiculous. Who cares if I wear eye shadow and mascara or not? Besides My Mary Kay Lady, that is?! I wore it in junior high and high school. College was probably when I stopped bothering. Even the good stuff makes my eyes itch. I rub it off, forgetting it's there. However, about a year after surgery I needed Sparkly Eyelids to help me Feel Like a Woman. It was A Little Thing that helped me through the Emotional Bumps after surgery. The second thing was I bought some High Heels. I'd stopped wearing them and opted for flats instead for years. I'm short, even when I wear heels, so I figured I'd have comfortable feet. There is a Power to High Heels though. If you wear 'em right. One pair was red and the other black and they just slipped on, without straps or a thicker heel for balance and safety. They were Frivolous and Fun and good Shoe Therapy for me. I still have them in my closet. Haven't worn them in awhile. Kind of like the eye makeup that now sits unused alongside my basic routine of tinted moisturizer, blush with an eyelash curler to get me through each day. That is, if I even get around to putting makeup on. Since leaving work in June 2009 I'm seen "as is" more often than "painted" Out and About.
I bought my roses this morning at the grocery store. It was a Quick Stop, after a 5:30am Exercise Class, en route home to get breakfast for my sons, get them ready and to school on time. I headed to the flower display first. There were several colors of roses to choose from. I always know them when I see them. Today's bouquet is a vivid fiery orange with ruffled outer petals and some lighter gradation that can't help but catch your eye. They felt right. They were mine. Waiting for me. For Today. As I walked in, I remembered a few other things I needed as well. Final count was six: a bouquet of roses, my favorite thick sliced bacon, two solid chocolate bunnies (for Easter baskets), a package of wheat pita bread and (just because it was a buck cheaper than usual) a whole pineapple.
As I placed the roses in a waiting vase, after making fresh cuts to each long stem, I noticed one was bent. The stem had been damaged near the bloom. Instead of throwing it away, I cut it shorter, above the wound, and put it in a juice glass by itself near the larger vase. My hope is that it will still open and bloom. Wounded but not Broken Beyond Usefulness. Still Beautiful. My husband just asked me, "Who are the roses from?" I answered, "Me." Then I added, "It's the day I always buy myself roses. The Anniversary of my Hysterectomy". He buys 'em for me at Valentine's and our Wedding Anniversary. I have this one covered. This way I get to Pick 'Em Out Myself.
© 2011 Janean Baird, Turquoise Tangles
I love the bright orange roses! They look perfect…especially the one in the juice glass…Wounded, but NOT Broken.Although I still have my inside parts, I can relate to the loss of the possibility. Jeff and I struggled for 5 years with infertility. I got pregnant soon after we started trying, but lost the baby. Jacob is our IVF miracle, our test tube baby (although they use petri dishes…but petri dish baby just doesn't have the same ring.) It's been 10 years since our 3 embryos were transfered…I lost 2 of them: 1 at 6 weeks and the other at 18 weeks. And amazingly, Jacob stayed put until he was ready at 38 weeks. I have a picture hanging on my bedroom wall that I see every day. Sometimes I don't really see it, while other times I really look at it. At the time of the embryo transfer, my doc gave me pictures taken with a scanning microscope…my 3 babies…just 3 round balls of cells that were only 48 hours past conception. Jacob will turn 10 in November. After the rollercoaster ride of infertility, we decided not to use any more fertility drugs or treatments. I always hoped for another baby without the sterility of science. Now that I'm turning 42 this year, I've come to realize that there's a very slim chance that I'll become pregnant again. And with that realization is the loss of possibility.Don't get me wrong…I'm very thankful for all that I have and the experiences that I've had. They've shaped me into who I am. I've come to terms with Jacob being an only child. Every now and then I think of those babies and mourn the loss of possibility.Sorry I blogged on about my experience in your comment section, Janean. But I wanted to share with you that I get it. Thanks for sharing your anniversary and letting me share with you.
Jen,Yes. I'm so glad you shared with me right back. There are so many things we bury in our hearts as women and somehow saying them aloud makes them smaller and easier to carry until they start to fade in a good way. Every baby is a miracle. Your son even more so. I'm glad you have a picture of all three. They happened. They matter. I know what you mean about all those Life Experiences that make us who we are. Some we wish we could forget. Others we wish we could do over. But if we could, we'd change something else inadvertently. These fiery orange roses have made me smile all day. I so needed them. They help me heal. Especially the broken one. I started to put them in separate rooms but they feel right tucked together like this. Sharing space even if they aren't sharing a vase. No apology needed. I blog in the comments too – on my friend's blogs as well as my own. I don't have the gift of concise speech most days. Always good to hear from YOU. ~ Janean
Nice story Janean, and better pic! :yes: Bacon on top as should!! Sorry I haven't been on as much, been very busy. Am finding out it's not easy posting and working and being a husband and dad…whew. I've also found this online poetry forum that I can get some feedback. I like it and I believe you would as well. Especially great for new poets looking to improve thier craft. It's poetrysoup.com if you're interested and it also allows you to post your blogs on there too so you get more exposure… That's what I've been concentrating on the last few days…transfering my stuff to them. I think I'll keep them all going for now and see which one works for me. Still not done with bio…gotta get on that!!!! I think that's gonna be my most difficult write!
Thanks, Kevin. Yes. There is Bacon In The House again! 🙂 As it should be. Always. It IS hard to work in writing poetry (and in my case Art Making too) to a life already filled to the brim with good stuff like family and friends and "other" commitments too like Workin' For A Livin'. You'll find the balance and make it work. I'm glad you're finding avenues to get your work Out There for Public Consumption. I may explore Poetry Soup when I have a few more poems to share. The poetry has been a surprise to me. I didn't know it was there, simmering under the surface all along. My Grandpa T wrote poems on whatever he had nearby when they struck him. Sometimes that was a piece of wood with a pencil for marking cut lines. He'd type 'em up and share 'em as soon as he could. Keep writing. Especially that Bio. You're going to need it Ready To Roll for the back cover and book flap someday soon. I wrote a brief bio for the art show I'm participating in on Friday. It is hard to summarize yourself and your life experiences in a few paragraphs. You have my e-mail and Janet's if you want any In Progress Feedback on your Draft. Just keep answering the questions and before you know it, you'll be done.