In the Balance

For six minutes you belonged to eternity. Then paddles upon your chest. Twice.
You were here but not here. A stainless steel and glassed in room with whirrs, beeps, and methodical suction sounds. Your body, cold and dormant, in transition. A shell suspended in time that encased your soul, your mind. You were somewhere in a season unknown to us. We waited. We prayed for your voice and love and laugh to break through and survive.

chrysalis hangs by thread
holds life in transition within its seams
to be or not to be

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Photo Credit: Alfonso Diaz

It’s haibun Monday at dVerse and our beloved Toni reminds us that in Japanese culture, the aesthetic is all about change – impermanence. “Mujo. Our lives are not the same as yesterday nor will they be the same tomorrow.” Haibun: prose (not fiction) followed by a nature-related haiku. dVerse opens today at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!
Toni will be taking a hiatus from dVerse until November. We shall miss her dearly.

October 15, 2013: the love of my life broke through and returned to us. Thankful for every day.

 

56 thoughts on “In the Balance

    • lillian September 20, 2016 / 7:34 am

      Yes it was. But joyful at the end of that wondering.

      Like

  1. Renee Espriu September 19, 2016 / 1:56 pm

    What a beautiful analogy. I went into congestive heart failure last year before my open heart surgery and although I do not remember, my children have told me they were there watching and waiting for me to wake.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 20, 2016 / 7:35 am

      Yes. The watching and the waiting — and the pure joy when the loved one emerges. I am certain your children are indeed thankful for every day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Renee Espriu September 20, 2016 / 5:10 pm

        Yes. Their vigilance in the waiting touched my heart. I am happy for you that your situation had a positive outcome. Be well.

        Like

  2. kanzensakura September 19, 2016 / 3:06 pm

    Beautiful telling of your husband’s ordeal. I love the haiku about the chrysalis, the sense of waiting, of being suspended in time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 20, 2016 / 7:35 am

      Thank you. This was obviously a turning point in our lives and this time of year, it all comes back.

      Like

  3. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) September 19, 2016 / 3:09 pm

    This is wonderful.. what a gripping moment of change that almost came… like a u-turn almost… chilling and warm at the same time. The haiku working as a metaphor is wonderful

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 20, 2016 / 7:36 am

      Thank you, Bjorn. It was indeed a u-turn in life.

      Like

  4. jazzytower September 19, 2016 / 3:21 pm

    A good “telling” of a dramatic life event, the haiku serves as a good wrap up.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. freyathewriter September 19, 2016 / 3:28 pm

    I am so pleased this had a happy ending for you. So wonderfully written and such an impact.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 20, 2016 / 7:37 am

      Yes. I choose to celebrate on October 15th each year, rather than marking that awful day when life literally stopped.

      Like

      • freyathewriter September 21, 2016 / 4:36 pm

        That’s a very positive and strong choice to make.

        Like

  6. Bodhirose September 19, 2016 / 4:20 pm

    It would be so interesting to know what may be perceived in that no-man’s land of being between two worlds. I wondered that as my father was transitioning. I’m so happy that your family got your loved one back, Lillian. Quite an experience!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 20, 2016 / 7:39 am

      Many people, doctors and nurses included, have asked my husband if he “saw” anything — remembers anything. As he says, he could make a lot of money if he lied and made something up. But for him, there is no memory of the occurrence or probably about the three or four days after. His “memory” of these events, is in the telling of others.

      Like

      • Bodhirose September 21, 2016 / 12:10 am

        What’s really interesting is that doctors and nurses are actually asking their patients those questions. I’ve read many stories of people who had died and been revived and what they experienced at that time “between” was profound and life changing. Who knows why some have no recollection of anything. Thanks for sharing, Lillian; I’m so intrigued.

        Like

  7. sarahsouthwest September 19, 2016 / 4:23 pm

    Such an intensely written experience, and such a beautiful haiku. thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 20, 2016 / 7:39 am

      Appreciate your kind words here.

      Like

  8. Grace September 19, 2016 / 4:30 pm

    What a moving and terrifying experience. Glad that it was a good ending for you. Love the haiku of the butterfly transformation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 20, 2016 / 7:41 am

      Thank you, Grace. As October approaches, after three years, my dreams still go back to these moments — especially as I look over and see the love of my life sitting reading a paper, or cooking or doing some mundane every day thing. He is 100% cognitively himself — a miracle was wrought on October 15th. Many angels along the way.

      Like

  9. Sanaa Rizvi September 19, 2016 / 4:35 pm

    I agree, this is absolutely raw and intense! I am so glad it had a happy end for you 💖

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

    Liked by 1 person

  10. little learner September 19, 2016 / 5:00 pm

    Such a beautiful piece of writing. It holds both the trauma and the beauty of change. You know the blessing each day holds!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Misky September 19, 2016 / 5:12 pm

    I shudder every time I read about this. Glad all turned out well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 20, 2016 / 7:43 am

      Since I began writing poetry in Jan 2015, I’ve written of this several times – in different ways. It seems that each fall season my mind takes me back here. But I revel in October 15th and am so graterful for every day we have together.

      Like

  12. Victoria C. Slotto September 19, 2016 / 5:22 pm

    This gave me the chills. So often, as we age, we are reminded of the fragility of life. You have shared this so vividly, Lillian.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 20, 2016 / 7:43 am

      Thank you, Victoria. Thankful for every day.

      Like

    • lillian September 20, 2016 / 7:44 am

      It was a time of shock – a time of hope. So many angels along the way. Thankful for every day.

      Like

      • Brian September 20, 2016 / 11:20 am

        Thank you Lillian. The medical maze is more traumatic than the initial event.

        Like

  13. katiemiafrederick September 19, 2016 / 6:03 pm

    Inspiring my friend Lillian.. and i will
    go on to say.. baby cannot breathe..
    born that way.. Charge Association..
    Transposed Great Vessels of the
    heart.. and DiGeorge syndrome..
    the sign on the
    crib just
    says
    Congenital
    Anomalies..
    and the Baby’s
    name was Ryan..
    to be my only Son
    for 51 days.. only
    pain is what came
    his way.. sometimes medicine
    is beneficial and sometimes you
    wish it would not extend pain like it
    can and will too.. anyway.. in this life
    one must make the best of what comes
    if they expect to honor those who never had
    a chance at anything but pain at all.. So i held
    this only Son.. until his last heartbeat faded
    out of pain.. eyes that only wanted
    love but could only feel
    pain..
    and sure
    some folks
    cannot believe
    that small infants
    like this can feel pain..
    but if not they are blind
    to grimaces and cries that
    spell that misery and suffering
    clear for angel empath eYes..real..
    little did i know then.. thaT experience
    would help me survive the worst pain
    assessed in medical literature as Trigeminal
    Neuralgia for 66 months from wake to sleep..
    my perspective
    was always
    i could
    feel
    Love first
    and lived even
    one second without
    constant pain of life..
    a gift of an only son who
    would help save my life.. only
    by his suffering.. only by his suffering
    sitting by his crib over 51 days seeing
    and feeling
    seconds of
    that in what
    lasted forever then..

    Life IS A
    gift
    worth suffering for..:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 20, 2016 / 7:45 am

      Oh Katie. Such pain. I am so so sorry you’ve had to endure all of this. Life is indeed a gift.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Mish September 20, 2016 / 12:05 am

    You gave us the reality of this terrifying experience but you also captured the mystery of the transition. I am so glad your prayers were answered.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 20, 2016 / 7:45 am

      So many angels along the way. Thankful for every day. We have a miracle in our family.

      Like

  15. kim881 September 20, 2016 / 3:26 am

    This reminds me of when my father was in a coma:
    ‘A shell suspended in time that encased your soul, your mind. You were somewhere in a season unknown to us.;
    And the haiku is so beautiful, Lillian.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 20, 2016 / 7:47 am

      Yes. My husband was put into a paralytic coma and his body temperature was lowered for 24 hours, then slowly raised back to normal and during all that time, on life support. So many prayers. So many angels along the way. Thank you for sharing your feelings here, Kim. I truly appreciate your reply.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. ladynyo September 20, 2016 / 10:07 am

    This drove me to tears. The intensity of your words….no fiction here. The haiku was perfect. Thank you, and may your blessings continue in life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 23, 2016 / 2:26 pm

      Thank you for your wonderful reply! Truly appreciated.

      Like

    • lillian September 23, 2016 / 2:27 pm

      The reality was too vivid. Thank you for your reply here.

      Like

  17. whimsygizmo September 20, 2016 / 8:42 pm

    Oh my goodness. I was hanging on the edge of this. So scary. And your haiku is just perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 23, 2016 / 2:28 pm

      Thank you. The waiting proved to have a positive and miraculous ending. We are truly blessed.

      Like

  18. kaykuala (@hankkaykuala) September 21, 2016 / 6:42 am

    We waited. We prayed for your voice and
    love and laugh to break through and survive

    Having to see and to wait for the outcome can be most traumatic! A touch and go sort of situation!

    Hank

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 23, 2016 / 2:28 pm

      It was indeed. But he returned to us and we are grateful for every day.

      Like

    • lillian September 23, 2016 / 2:29 pm

      You’re welcome. But there is a joyful ending. He returned to us and we are forever grateful to the many angels along the way.

      Like

      • proximanova September 23, 2016 / 2:58 pm

        Yes, that part is eluded to in the beginning. Not all tragic moments end in a loss. What I liked most was your description of what it feels like to be waiting while your loved one hangs in the balance.

        Like

  19. Sue Anderson September 24, 2016 / 1:48 pm

    Wonderfully powerful! And so glad to read in comments that there is a happy ending.

    Like

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