On Easter morning, my husband was released from a nine-day hospital stay. During those nine days, I found strength I didn't know I had.
It was appendicitis, and the appendectomy took place later that evening. It would be his first surgery.
Shortly after the diagnosis, I leaned in close to his frowning face and asked if he was scared. I needed for him to tell me that he wasn't. I needed him to tell me that everything was going to be fine. I needed him to be as positive and confident as he always was when it was me sitting where he was at that moment.
His answer surprised me. He said through barely parted lips, “Yes.”
The surgery took place at approximately 7 p.m. on a Friday. It was reported that everything went well, but there were a few complications that caused this surgery to be the start of a nine-day journey that my family will never forget.
Throughout those nine days, there were times when I couldn't convince myself that everything would be OK like the doctor and nurses said it would.
After day four, I stopped believing them when they informed us that he might be able to go home the next day. I was blindsided by the fact that I was feeding and bathing a man that just days earlier could do this on his own. I was losing hope each time it took two people to assist him while he walked the hospital halls. It was terrifying watching my husband receive nutrients through an IV for a few days.
If this wasn't enough stress, my youngest – a true daddy's girl – cried each night after we visited. The elevator rides were the worst. She’d hold back her tears as she kissed him goodbye, but as soon as the elevator doors closed, she was inconsolable. She cried for him like never before, and the crying would last during the entire ride down to the first floor and the entire ride home.
A video call made things better, but only until the next night. She begged for answers as she asked the most difficult questions. She wanted to know why her daddy couldn't come home.
One of her biggest concerns was whether her daddy would be able to help her hunt for eggs. All I could offer is what was told to me: maybe tomorrow. It was torture watching her in those moments, and it tore me completely apart.
I had spoken to someone earlier in the week who asked me if I'd cried yet. I told her that I hadn't had the time to cry. The circumstances that took place in my life the past few days had left no room for crying. I was solely focused on following the advice that was given to me by each of my friends, "Be strong. You got this."
Well, that night in the shower, I had that cry. I cried for my husband, my daughter, my sons and for me. I was angry, tired, frustrated, impatient, sad and overwhelmed. Spending every available moment at the hospital will do that to you.
After that cry, I prayed. I prayed for healing for my husband. I also prayed for strength and patience and the ability to comfort the daddy's girl who couldn't understand why she had to leave him each night. I thanked God for the good, bad and the ugly, because he had shown me many times that there was always good after the bad and the ugly.
I even thanked him in advance for the good that was to come after the storm we were currently going through. I thanked God for the help of my friends and my husband's family, even though some were hundreds of miles away. I couldn't ask for a better support system.
I reflected on all of the challenges I'd faced and how I'd conquered them all. This gave me hope and strength. I was beginning to remember that I am the superwoman one friend had reminded me that I was.
Then, on Easter morning, he was released to come home. He was in no position to hunt for eggs, but he was coming home.