When faced with an unexpected medical diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy, one feels the “rug pulled out from under” dynamic in full force. We may float around in the pool of self-pity for a while, but most likely we’ll exist in an anti-gravity capsule with no sense of direction or purpose.
We try to stay alert and focused as we wait for a clear indication of the next step in our journey but it’s so difficult to hear – equally difficult to see – while floating in this soundless, odorless, dim capsule, our bodies surrounded by thousands of memories of our finest – and less than stellar – moments, and questions that have no answer. Death seems imminent as there is no longer a clear view of our future that once seemed so very promising. Darkness lurks in the capsule corners and we watch, attempting vigilance to keep the darkness at bay.
There is no exit. There are no instructions. There is no beauty and no breeze.
There are other capsules that float nearby but the inhabitants, like you and I, are alone and confused. Some are flailing wildly, overcome with panic, and some have closed their eyes in surrender. Most remain awake and observant, like us, waiting for the epiphany of a MacGyver-esque escape plan or a maybe a hero who will burst through the isolation with answers, instructions, and comfort.
As time passes slowly the Encapsulated Ones go through the motions together…isolated…alone.
Six months into my own encapsulation, I can look back and clearly see the path I’ve traveled even though the path ahead remains foggy. There were days when the darkness of depression consumed my isolated world, and there was a day or two that I closed my eyes in surrender to it all. Even though there is still no exit I have been visited by many heroic souls who decorated my capsule with colorful – sweet, blessed color! – messages of love. My capsule is more comfortable now. My world is less stark and I am more content.
At this random moment there is an inaudible message that permeates the capsule and fills the air around me. My world has changed and I cannot return to the exact being I was before the encapsulation, but that does not mean I will cease to exist. Call it a second chance, a new start, or whatever you like, but it is an opportunity to continue to live my life although with a different purpose and direction. This is not the end, but the beginning. I am profoundly blessed to have spent this time in my capsule, learning that I am loved by so many more people than I ever imagined. It has been a precious and wonderful gift to know that my existence has meant something to this world. I have worth! I am loved! I don’t have to know all of the answers to my questions right now; in fact, I don’t have time for that right now. I’m in a hurry! I have an idea – no, I have several ideas! I can do this, or I can do that! I finally have time for those, and those, and those, and those!! Oh for crying out loud – I am READY!
And with that, my being moves past the capsule boundaries and toward the purpose that awaits me there. I do not look back. I cannot go back to being the person I was, and I accept that with a grateful, albeit tired, heart.
© Maria R. Conklin and Journey Of A Tired Heart, 2015-2016