Strong according to Merriam-Webster means “having great physical power and ability, not easy to break or damage, not sick or injured.”
Over the past week, my 7-year old daughter has had her third cardiac catherization and we received the news that she will require her second open heart surgery to either repair or replace her aortic valve in the near future. As I write this, I have had a “whole” 48 hours to digest the news and I feel broken, damaged and just about the furthest point from strong. Not an hour goes by that the tears do not well up in my eyes.
I have been told by friends and family that I am strong, that there is an inner strength, that we can do this . . . While there are moments that I genuinely don’t know if I can do this, I also know that I have no choice. At the end of August 2008, I was blessed with my Harry & Genevieve. Even before then, from Genevieve’s prenatal diagnosis of Aortic Stenosis, I knew that we would find a way. We would find a way to live happy, to make the most of every moment and to do everything we could to bounce back from the difficult days.
My husband Al has told me that I give off this air of strength and confidence – especially in my Facebook posts documenting our journey and updating our friends and family all over the world. Ok, except maybe for the one where I just announced that this “fucking sucks”, I am sure that I will get to that in another post. I am really just “faking it until I make it”. Just plowing through each minute of each day, smiling when my own heart is breaking.
When I look in the mirror, I see a lot of things – I see the tears, I see the pain and I see the fear. I also see a determination to figure it out and to keep moving forward. I don’t see strength – I just see me, sometimes weak and currently feeling a bit broken.