As I quickly walked down the hospital hallway trying to escape from my middle child’s screams I felt alone and weak. My daughter had undergone yet another surgery and was left with a large hole in her body. In order to help the hole to properly heal, the surgeons packed it with 6 to 8 inches of gauze. To prevent infection and continue the healing process, every so often the nurse had to come in and remove the existing gauze from the hole and fill the hole again with fresh, clean gauze. That time had come and my daughter immediately became upset. She had endured this one time too many and the thought of the excruciating pain was sending her into a tailspin. Prior to this time, I held her hands, rubbed her back, and tried to soothe her as she screamed and her body shook from the pain she felt. So, I prepared myself to do it once again but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. Helpless and about to have a major meltdown I stepped into the hallway when the doctor came in to assist. I needed to get myself together and quite frankly run away from the helplessness I felt as the woman who was responsible for protecting this precious human being.
My daughter was in the hospital for three to four days. Our family that lived in Chapel Hill and some of my daughter’s friends came to visit and check on us. For that, I was so grateful. In fact, my cousin and her husband have taken my daughter under their wings and have truly made life so much better for us. But, if I were, to be honest, I would have to say I still felt really alone because there was no one that I felt truly connected to that I could lean on at a time when I was trying so desperately to be strong for my daughter. And, when I felt alone I actually chastised myself for feeling alone. I believed it was selfish of me to expect people to take time out of their lives to check on me. I felt I was failing as “superwoman”.
As I share this do not believe for one second that I am free from guilt when it comes to not showing up at times when people might need me the most. In fact, just this week I texted a friend and she responded that something happened to cause her to have a slight meltdown. My instant reaction was to continue the conversation via text because it was so much easier. Fortunately, before I hit send I stopped and reminded myself of how I felt when I was sitting in that hospital with my daughter and immediately dialed her number. And I believe my voice reassuring her resonated far better than any text message I could have sent. Not because there is anything special about my voice but because despite this “f#!k it, I’m about me” attitude that seems to be permeating throughout our society, as humans we really need to know that there is someone out there in the world that genuinely cares about us. And, there are times when we just need to experience kindness from another human being.
I decided to share a feeling of loneliness in my life because I have been listening to a few podcasts and reading material that suggests that there is a rise in loneliness amongst the human population. In fact, a study published by Cigna found that 46 percent of U.S. adults report sometimes or always feeling lonely and 47 percent report feeling left out. More importantly, studies show that there is a direct correlation between one’s longevity and loneliness.
Isn’t it great to know that you can play a part in another human being’s wellness simply by doing something kind and thoughtful? I’m pretty geeked about that! I am committing to making sure I do my part to have more meaningful human interactions. Will you join in the commitment to more meaningful human interactions with me?