The call came at 2:08 a.m. I hadn't moved the phone to the bedside table so had to leap from bed, across the room, barely missing the dog who lay sprawled across the floor, strategically placed in my path just in case I was going to the kitchen. I leaped at just the right moment, stretched and grabbed the receiver, hoping I hit the right button in the dark and didn't cut the caller off. I was pretty sure I knew who it was..
Acceptance is not submission; it is acknowledgement of the facts of a situation. Then deciding what you're going to do about it. Kathleen Casey Theisen
Hello, I called anxiously into the phone.
"Hi mommy," my youngest daughters voice echoed down the line. "I know I woke you but I knew you'd want to know what happened when you got up and I'm on my way to Amsterdam to meet Ryan and won't be able to call until much later."
She was right. I did want to know and I didn't care about the time.
"I'm glad you called honey. How did it go?" She had an appointment that morning with the neurologist to get the results of her last EEG.
"I've got epilepsy," she said. Her voice was flat. Missing it's usual light lilt.
I didn't want to say 'sorry'. I wanted to ensure that what ever I said supported her. Acknowledged her. Embraced her.
"How are you feeling?" I asked.
"Um. Ok. At least I know what it is."
"Yup. And with the knowledge fear of the unknown can leave and we can focus on what is. What else did the doctor say?"
"He gave me some pills. He doesn't want me to take them yet. Not until after my next seizure."
"And what's the likelihood of a 'next'?"
I heard her sigh and ached to reach across the wire to hold her, soothe her, to ease her pain.
She's off to Amsterdam. This beautiful young 22 year old woman with bright eyes and a wide smile and a great big adventure of an unwritten future waiting to be explored. Her boyfriend arrives today from Canada. They plan on travelling for 2 months before he returns and she goes off to Ireland to meet up with a girlfriend for two weeks. She'll be back home at the end of August, just in time for fall session at University.
We chatted a bit. She told me more details of what had transpired at the doctor's office. "He gave me copies of my MRI and EEGs so that if I have a seizure while I'm travelling I'll have them with me just in case. Can you phone dad and Alexis and tell them I'll call later."
"Of course honey. Anything else I can do?"
"Not right now. Ashley's the lucky one. If I have another seizure she'll have to put a pill up my butt."
We laughed together. Ashley, her roommate from university will be travelling with her, along with another friend and Ryan.
"I've gotta go mom. I have to catch the bus to the train station in ten minutes and I don't want to miss it."
"Ok honey. Thanks for calling. I'll call your dad and sister and let them know you'll call later."
"Thanks mom. I love you."
"I love you too." Pause. "You're going to be ok, honey. You've got the power to deal with whatever life throws at you."
"I know. It just kinda sucks."
"Yeah. It does."
And we said good-bye.
Ryan will have landed by now. He's calm and level headed and caring. I'm glad he's there.
Though I still wish I were, even though I know, right now, the only reason for me to be there would be to make me feel better, not her. It's not the place for me. She's ok. It's not life-threatening. It's just life-adjusting.
And as my friend Diane wrote yesterday over at Contemplative Photography, Life's not what it's not; it is what it is.
My daughter will be ok. She is ok. Right now. She just needs time to adjust to this news.
She's with people she loves, who love her in return. They'll take her mind off her 'news' and infuse her with joy as she remembers the joy of being herself -- regardless of the diagnosis. I know this to be true. And I am relieved. She doesn't need a mother hen. She needs lightness of being. Laughter. Joy. Fun.
She needs to know nothings changed within who she is and what better way to know that than to be amidst the laughter and joy of youth. To be travelling and seeing new sites. To be exploring the world around you, experiencing an adventure of a lifetime, without judging every step of the journey against the fear of the unknown.
She knows what is. She will make adjustments as necessary. For today, she's alive and well and travelling on a train from Amsterdam back to Vlissingen as she prepares to pack up her apartment and finish off her school year. She'll drop off a suitcase at my cousin's in Paris , spend a few days exploring a city she loves with someone she loves and then set off to explore this great big wide world in wonder and awe of the beauty and mystery and adventure all around her.