Jon asked me how I felt when I saw him right after his surgery. He was still under the anesthesia, attached to a wall of beeping and humming machines, tubes coming out almost every natural orifice in his body and a few new man-made ones. His eyes would suddenly fly open like they do on the monster in the final scene in a horror movie, then close again as if they never opened. Wildly circling, a look of fear, pain and confusion. And what was I feeling? Joy, a great happiness just to see him. My tears were tears of joy. Elation from relief ,I suppose ,and knowing the surgery was successful. Knowing he would eventually get better that his current state was temporary. I could feel the real Jon, his essence, his soul, deep down somewhere inside his healing and traumatized body. Hunkering down, waiting for the right time to emerge . Allowing the body, (which I could feel very clearly was not Jon, but Jon’s body) to do the work it needed to adjust to its new reality.
And the next morning when I spoke to the nurse on the phone and she said Jon was talking and had taken a walk, I pictured a semi-conscious mumbling, an unsteady, stumbling shuffle. How could it be anything else considering what I had seen just a few hours before. But as I turned the corner to his room, it was like a miracle. He was sitting up, eating, talking, his big green owl eyes alert and curious. He had the complexion of a healthy person. He was back, his body beaten up, bruised and painful, but the two were one again. When Jon asked if I brought his Ipad, (which I had to go back to the hotel to get, I never imagined he’d be able to use it that day) I knew it would be okay, that he was ready to get on with the work of living.