A fist of fear pummeled my soul. I was startled by its intensity and for several moments — forgot to breathe. Started to feel dizzy. Finally gulped draughts of fresh air.
Why the fear? A doctor visit was imminent. One of those visits that might be serious or only slightly serious — depending on the results.
And I knew I could not do this alone. So I called my son. “I need a favor, honey.”
Even the sound of his bass voice reassured me. “Would you go with me to the doctor? I don’t know why. I just need someone with me today.”
Again, “Sure. Glad to.”
My heart stopped its thumping romp as fear eased.
He stood with me as I checked in, followed me into the sterile room, and provided another pair of ears to listen carefully to the doctor’s orders. Then he helped me gather my purse, all the paperwork, even my water bottle.
The prognosis, “Nothing serious. We’ll try the pills first, and then go from there.”
Did my son hear the same words I heard, the ones I hoped for? Yes. It was good to have another voice to confirm the answer.
At the pharmacy, he helped me pick up the meds. Then we shared supper and watched Sports Center back in my living room.
Somehow, just having another human being beside me to share in the fearful possibilities lightened the load. Felt like healing itself.
“It will be okay, Mom.” The same words he spoke fourteen years ago when I held his hand before brain surgery. When they cut open his precious head and removed that nasty tumor.
When life hands us its unraveling, we tend to suck it up and march forward. Find power in our own strength and the fortitude it takes to just keep living.
But sometimes — when the possibilities of a painful test loom big, when the trial unravels into fragments of unknowns and sucker punches us into silence — we need someone beside us.
Yes, we trust God. But we also need living, breathing human beings to encourage us. To hold our hands. To tell us it will be okay. To love us with the love of Christ.
I was so grateful that day for my boy — this now grown man whose presence exuded strength and calm. This tower of humanity who has himself survived cancer and experienced his own miracle. He did not laugh at my need or seem distressed when I swallowed tears and hung on to his arm. He simply let me ride through the storm with his presence beside me.
Every day since then, he checks on me. “Do you feel better? Are the meds working? Are you being careful to monitor reactions?”
This reversal of roles seems too soon in my journey. I do not yet feel old. I only feel older.
But every day I give thanks. Treasure the gift that is my son and remind myself again — I am not really alone.
Hope breathes through connection.
For those who live in a secure relationship, be grateful. For those who soldier on in solitude, find a connecting place. An encouraging pilgrim. And if you know another soul who marches with an individual beat, offer to be there when needed. To provide the reassurance that someone cares.
We need each other, even when we feel strong and healthy. Vulnerability will inevitably intrude. That is when we find out who really cares.
©2023 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
Check out the book my son and I wrote together. Uploading Faith: What It Means to Believe.