"But then again, all surgeries are."
That's just not what you say to people whose loved ones are in recovery. At least, that's not what you say to my dad. He remained calm, but definitely held onto that phrase and repeated it back to me as we discussed my mother's prognosis.
I tend to pretend that people aren't sick. I pretend that I'm not sick, when I clearly am. I pretend that my dad, even though he had all of the symptoms of the beginning Guillane-Barre syndrome after getting the flu shot last year, was fine and that his dozen trips to Neurologists were normal. I pretend that excruciating abdominal pain doesn't exist, even if I want to break out into tears randomly from pain. I pretend that I don't need 25 stitches when I slip and fall on the sidewalk and tear open my knee. I pretend that having a bowel obstruction is perfectly normal and that my mother's surgery last year was a success and routine. I pretend that everything is going to be ok, because it is. I pretend that life is fair, because it has to be.
Why do I pretend? Because I cannot, and will not, imagine my life without either of my parents. I refuse to believe that either of them will not be there for my wedding, for the birth of my first child (and however many I have after that). I refuse to believe that my parents won't see me become everything they've ever expected of me and wanted for me. I refuse to believe that they will not be there when my children learn to swim, or graduate from high school. I refuse to believe that my life as I know it could all be over in a split second. I refuse to have my chest tighten and tears flow from my eyes just from thinking about these impossibilities.
So as I pretend that my mother is perfectly healthy and this is just a minor bump in the road, and I refuse to believe that there is any way this can get worse, I hope that pretending and refusals can fabricate the reality that I need to exist.
She is fine. She will be fine. I love her too much for her not to be. I need her too much for her not to be.