My daughter, Nava, has been my role model, mentor and teacher in helping me cope with her toughest and scariest times in her life. She was the person to whom it was all happening while I as her mother stood by watching, contorted in my own emotional pain, but having to bring forth the strength to endure, both for her sake and mine.
At one point, when Nava had been on a ventilator in an induced coma going into month two, and I was feeling emotionally weakened by yet another set-back in her lung functioning, my rabbi said to me, “see how hard she’s fighting to live; she could have succumbed at any point. Therefore, you must continue to be there fighting alongside her.” These words gave me a renewed injection of renewed strength.
In her comatose state, I was strengthened by her innate fight to survive.
When Nava went on to rehab, she fought a tremendous uphill battle to relearn and reclaim her abilities and functions, one step at a time. Her smile, positive disposition and nature lit up my path and enabled me to have the endurance to be by her side cheering her on 12 hours a day for months. Flirtatiously joking with the male therapists, she went through the most arduous work of a lifetime.
In her steep climb up the mountain of life, I was strengthened by her persistence, endurance and strength of character.
A year later, Nava had her colon removed and a permanent ileostomy created. How was she going to handle this, both emotionally and physically, especially in light of her disabilities?
“So you mean instead of making from my tushy, I make from here,” she said as she pointed to her lower right side of her abdomen. Continuing to make sure she had it right, she went on, “it doesn’t come out of here anymore?” this time pointing to her bottom; “it comes out of the stoma and goes into the bag?” That was it in a nutshell.
For her it really was that simple: sit on the toilet and instead of making, she’s emptying. Change the apparatus twice a week and carry on. Despite her weak fine motor skills, she eventually was able to do it all on her own.
Her matter-of-fact attitude and her ability to accept what is and to do what it takes to live her life as before, was truly remarkable. Slowly, I too, took on this somewhat nonchalant attitude, as I watched her in awe.
In her adjustment to her ileostomy, I was strengthened by her positive acceptance of this new part of her life.
Nava keeps me focused on the big picture- miraculously having her life back- so I don’t get too bogged down by the concrete problems that arise from time to time.
She does not allow “it” to dictate her life. Her zest is what permeates her life. That supercedes any bodily apparatus. She deals well with the concrete so that her real living can take place.
She exudes and I absorb.