Can I ask you a question? And it’s a DOOZY… How’s your Lent going? With all this Coronavirus stuff and living in Italy, I can tell you – It’s not the best… OR IS IT?
When I started this post, my husband was laying asleep recovering from colon surgery (I’ll get to that). My child is knee-deep in virtual school – which he’s stressed about, but we’re both thankful we homeschooled before, so he’s ok. Sure, he misses his friends and being able to leave our Parco (neighborhood), but he’s doing ok.
February 25th, Marque went in for routine colon surgery to remove a bad area of his colon. We were told it was precancerous, but because there was a visiting surgeon with a colorectal specialty, we could do it sooner rather than later and she’d help out. The surgery was supposed to last three hours and lasted twelve. One of THE absolute longest days ever. People sat with me, comforted me, my child was there. And finally after 10pm, we headed home.
On the first day of Lent, I walked into the hospital room to my husband writhing in pain. It was no one’s fault. The way they laid him during surgery was slanted, and arms pinned by his side, and his shoulders were so pain filled he could not even lift his arms. The visiting Priest (ours is in California having serious surgery near his family) brought us prayer, blessings and Jesus in the Eucharist. Lent in a Day, y’all. Ash Wednesday. We got our Ashes too. Sigh
My husband was in the hospital for 23 days. I’ll spare you the details on the ups and downs, but there were some very scary moments/days where the desert FEAR causes was very real. As the days turned into weeks, the coronavirus got serious. A friend of ours, a surgical tech, warned me and made sure I understood late one evening that I would need supplies to last a month and that when I took Marque home, I should not venture out so I wouldn’t catch it. I remember being irritated because no one thought it was very serious – and then all of a sudden, Italy was shut down.
If you can imagine, here in Italy, we have to carry legal paperwork (in Italian) letting whomever might stop us know WHY we are leaving the house. We can leave for necessity, for medical needs, proven work requirements, and for returning home. Only grocery, pharmacy, a few hardware stores, and maybe a few other places are open. When the Italians decree came out that their people could no longer visit family in hospital, I asked permission to see my husband daily. AND I had to be home by curfew (6pm).
- What if I told you that my husband did have cancer but it’s all gone? It never spread beyond his colon, not in his blood stream, not in his lymph.
- What if I told you that yesterday, on Gaudete Sunday, as frail as he has been whilst healing (he lost nearly 50 lbs and is weak for now), he taught our son to grill chicken and shrimp and we watched a family movie?
- What if I told you that this scary time has brought us closer, and helped us all appreciate one another more?
Before Marque had surgery a Priest told us we’d had our Lent laid out for us, he didn’t think we needed to give up anything else. And you know what, he was so right. The list of people I need to thank is long. I gave up sleep, my ego, and so much this Lent. We have all given up Christ in the Eucharist, and aren’t even sure if there will be Easter Mass. In my 56 years, I’ve never seen or experienced ANYTHING like it.
There were moments that I really didn’t even know if my husband would live. The fear in the desert is real. But I rejoice for this walk in the desert and the ability to be a light for others, and let others do for our little family.
I look forward to the day when quarantine is over and I can be in front of Jesus again. Until them I will adore him at home, with my little family, in our sweet desert.
Praying for you all.
Air Hugs (social distance mandate).
Love and blessings,