Today is Day 14 for my good friend M.I. who is fighting like a warrior after a serious bicycle accident and reconstructive surgery from C-3 to C-7 - still at U.C. Medical Center. Only now do I really begin to know what those letters and numbers stand for. There are other people in my life that have coped with accidents (falling from ladders, roofs) or have undergone back surgery, but none have shocked me quite like this one.
My own coping mechanism for shock is to search for information, statistics, numbers - in a Spock like logical fashion - and dampen any emotional surge. Try to avoid the infinite loop of "WHY" that attempts to let the emotional valley of despair be visible.
I saw M.I. and D.I on Saturday - Day 7 and everything from the neck up was normal. Just like the 17 years of gathering together discussing life, the future, and ..... well some of the insignificant current events (when compared to this event). My conversation that Saturday afternoon was primarily just that - just insignificant stuff - in an attempt to avoid any emotional rollercoaster intimacy that grief or uncertainty might uncover around some fear of a future dark corner of relationship unknowns. Avoid asking about the accident; avoid probing into their emotional privacy; avoid the obvious yearning to tell them both my own feelings of sympathy and compassion. My thoughts - just be there for them - that should be enough.
Yes - I've reached out to my network asking for information, advice and prayer. I've researched foundations, medical facilities, checked out medical books on SCI (Spinal Cord Injury) Rehabilitation, re-read the Diving Bell and the Butterfly, watched the movie, the list goes on and on. Each day I read the CaringBridge blog that D.I. so bravely posts and I compose encouraging words of support. Even prayer dominates my day - specifically for the M.I, D.I. and family.
When you don't understand ..... with no amount of data available to explain ....only three words remain - Faith, Hope and Love (1 Corinthians 13:13).