I have been silent the last few weeks.

There have been many reasons why. Sometimes in life you are forced to shut down. Heal. Question everything and occasionally rage at the night. I have been overwhelmed with life and I have had to go silent. No painting, no teaching, no quirky blogs.

A few weeks ago I almost died.  Literally.

Complications from surgery to repair a botched surgery from 10 years go along with extremely neglectful care in the hospital left me with collapsed lungs filling up with fluid until a crash team descended. But not before I was ignored for a long time while trying to get help. No response to those good ol’ nurse buttons. I finally found myself throwing pitchers of water and food out of my hospital room door (thank god it was open) in order to draw attention to my situation. At one point I was asked by the emergency doctor to nod my head yes or no for consent if they could intebate me and restart my heart if necessary. That is when I knew I was not only in serious trouble but that I had to go quiet. Slow my breathing. Slow my heart. And I had to do it myself. And then for some reason (I have no idea why) a buddhist mantra popped into my head which I repeated in my mind over and over again until there was nothing but silence and those words in my head. They say your life flashes before your eyes. Or that you think of those that you love. No. That didn’t happen for me. I could only think of my next breath.

I had many nurses and doctors over the next few days say they were happy I was still alive. Yeah, me too. I was told by a pulmonologist that it was lucky that I can run a mile or else I might not still be here. I guess when I started running for the first time in my life at the start of covid, there were more reasons for it than I knew at the time. My lungs opened back up and I came home to night terrors of not being able to breathe. They are less frequent now.

My daughter is also not well. Many health complications with her heart at her age of 21 has me so upset with our medical system, care and the insurance insanity that I can hardly speak about it without rage. And other issues have piled up and piled up until I feel like I am suffocating just like that night in the hospital. Without help. Alone.

I have also experienced grief and betrayal. It has made me question everything and everyone. Trust. I have always run on my gut instincts. But recently it has let me down. I guess I need to be more logical so I can cocoon myself with justifications. Seems to work for others. I now find myself putting up walls and pulling down expectations. Because opening yourself up gets ya slapped in the face.

Raining, now pouring.

So if you know me, you know my solace is in the woods. In the silence and in the quiet. The Japanese call it “forest bathing.” They believe being in the woods is necessary for health and repair while soaking in the oxygen of the trees and the sounds of comfort from the woods. As soon as I can walk better I will be doing a lot of that. Though I won’t be running anytime soon. But hopefully in a few months I will start again. I know now how very important that is and I will not take the simple act of breathing for granted ever again.

I am healing. And I am extremely grateful to so many of those that have helped me through this crazy, low point in my life. With food, errands, driving me and my daughter to doctor appointments and just sending love.

But for now my silence will continue. I’ll be back someday soon. Promise. I didn’t survive to stay quiet.

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