I took this photo the day after EJ’s open-heart surgery eight and a half years ago.
I’d just had the longest night of my life standing beside her while I held a pacifier in her mouth because it seemed to help her sleep. She hardly used one at home but the nurse really wanted to try giving her one and it was too big for her little mouth and it kept falling out. Each time it did, she would moan a sound that ripped at me. So I stood there and held it. For hours.
It felt like the final challenge of Survivor. Know what I mean? I watched the first few seasons and the final challenge was always a balance endurance test.
I had music playing softly, the playlist I had made four months earlier when we were waiting for her to arrive. Indigo Girls and Macy Gray and my voice singing along with them. My dad relieved me at some point around 5 am and I went downstairs to the Starbucks because of course the children’s hospital in Seattle has one.
I pretended I had a protective bubble around me like Violet from The Incredibles creates. I didn’t want to let anyone or their story in. I remember sitting at the table thinking I was enveloped in fog. Beginning to lean into the truth that a doctor had saved her life. Holding the fears surrounding how she would heal. How I would.
Before going back upstairs, I took this photo. It’s part of a series of mirror photos I took back then to help myself know I wasn’t disappearing. It’s become a practice I turn to again and again to feel seen.
Today, I want to whisper to this woman: I see you. Thank you for being so strong and open and present even when it might have felt impossible.
And in this moment, I’m imagining that I take her hand and walk into this day.
Being Seen is open for registration!
This is my 5-week ecourse that combines the mirror meditation and self-portraiture to help you deepen your relationship with yourself. The mirror meditation is a practice you can do almost anywhere that can help you feel deeply seen and reconnected in the midst of the unpredictability daily life can bring.
During and after the course, we'll connect in a private Facebook group + I'll be sending you the mirror meditation journal (and optional care package upgrade) in the mail! There are a limited number of spots for this final round of the course, and we’re almost half full. Learn more about sign up here.