december reflections | I was challenged by ...

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.
— ralph waldo emerson

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in 2017, I was challenged by an event that caused me to lose trust in myself, in my body, in my choices, in life itself. On July 20th, I had a stroke, a small blood clot moved through my body and lodged in the branch of an artery in the right middle cerebral artery causing loss of sight in my left vision  field. Ten days later, I had completely regained my vision and in the next month, my complaints about echoing in my hearing and slow thought processing resolved as well. 

Despite rapid recovery and despite ( or maybe because of) testing showing no reason for the stroke, I struggled to trust my body. I had always listened deeply to signals and signs from my body but here I was a seemingly healthy, if not a bit inactive, not elderly woman having a stroke. Now, months later, there are a lot of words I can write about my thoughts about the stroke, the why and the how but it's all very personal so I will hold those close to my heart. 

The stroke took my trust in my body and four weeks later, my son's death took my trust in life. I am recovering the first and I am re-imagining the second. 

In the past four months, I have worn a heart monitor for 30 days and I have taken my blood pressure once a day, then three times a day. I have had my cholesterol checked twice. I've had other tests. The numbers are all good and reassuring. More importantly, I have educated myself and I've changed my lifestyle choices accordingly. I'm eating differently, moving slowly, breathing more, nourishing my body with herbs that will support my heart and blood. I am beginning to trust my choices and my body again. 

But then there is that aspect of trusting life. 

With the stroke and then my son's death, I was slammed with the reality that for all the good choices we make, there is still so much out of our control. There is no explanation for my stroke; it just happened. Noah was the safest driver of any of my children but that couldn't protest him from a huge truck slamming into his car as it was pulled off the road. 

I don't know how to trust life again. I don't know how to push back the worry about any twinge in my body. I don't know how to squelch the panic that rises up anytime one of my children or my husband are driving somewhere. I don't know how to walk in faith and not fear. What am I supposed to have faith in? I lost faith in god a long time ago. 

I don't like existing in fear. That's my challenge right now. How do I choose something other than fear? What is there to choose?

I think it may be love ... maybe? To choose love over fear? Ah, but love didn't protect me and it didn't protect my son. I think I am asking unanswerable questions.