I’ve always had the tendency to look ahead too far instead of focusing on the immediate moment. I spent excessive hours agonizing over the day my children would leave me. While in Australia, with that thought heavy on my mind, I isolated myself from possible friendships and spent every moment I could with my children. As they were very active teenagers, I had lots of time to feel lonely and sorry for myself.
Megan’s illness was an eye opener for me. Now, instead of fretting over the thought of her going off to college, I had to face the risk of losing her permanently to death. Leaving for college was so insignificant compared to that. How pathetic I had looked in nurturing my selfish pity as I now faced the uncertainties for her young life. I had to remind myself that she didn’t belong to me; she was loaned to me by God, to raise and nurture. Her life was up to Him.
I was tired of this struggle and didn’t want to resist anymore. I didn’t want to get in the way of Megan’s healing because God had to teach me some lesson I was too stubborn to figure out on my own. As soon as I understood that, peace and joy began to flood my soul.
I realized that this extra time waiting for Megan’s surgery was a special gift to me. It was quality time I would normally have never known. I embraced every moment with her, realizing God had a plan for Megan’s life apart from my desires as her mother. I had to allow it to happen. I knew I had to let go of her. The delay in her surgery was more time that God gave me to do so.
Unable to go to school while we waited the six weeks for surgery, Megan stayed at home with me. We talked, watched movies, went to doctor appointments, and spent all our time together. Her friends would visit and bring her homework so she could keep up with school. She was scheduled to graduate that December and had lots to do. I cherished every second I had to take care of her and show her how much she meant to me. That period of waiting was one of the most precious times I’ve ever had with Megan.
The day came for her surgery and I struggled to maintain my peace. My mind wanted to remind me of all the things that could go wrong. I tried to stay focused on God’s grace and mercy. Megan spent the night before her surgery at the hospital so they could begin prepping her. I wanted to stay in the room with her in case she needed me, but she assured me she was okay alone. Going home was my first major step in letting go of her. Every ounce of my being wanted to stay in that hospital room that night.
The surgeon prepared us for an operation that could last for nine to twelve hours. Because of the unusualness of this case, she would have another specialist assisting her, with a heart doctor and pancreatic specialist standing by if needed. They feared it would be connected to some of her organs, or even worse, wrapped around her aorta.
When the surgery began, Rick and I stepped out for breakfast. With the long wait ahead of us, we took our time and planned out what we would do in the interim. I felt anxious being away from the hospital, and so we decided to return there as soon as we finished eating. After only an hour of sitting in the waiting room, one of the nurses came out and told us they were finished and everything went well. Megan was going into the recovery room. We could see her in a little while and the doctor would fill us in on the details.
That was only three hours after the surgery started. We had prepared for nine to twelve hours of an agonizing wait, and before I knew it, the surgery was over! I was so elated and started thanking God for this prompt healing.
It turned out that Megan had a benign cystic lymphangioma about the size of a football in her abdomen. Miraculously, it penetrated no organs and came out easily without disturbing its surroundings. Only 150 cases of this type of tumor had ever been reported, worldwide, at this time. Glory to God!
Megan spent a few days in intensive care and after five more days in the hospital, came home to a rapid recovery. She was dancing in a recital within six weeks of her surgery. She also cherishes the scar she carries that starts at the center of her breastbone and curves around her navel.
God touched Rick and me in a mighty way through this trial in our lives, and we still look back at this time as a monument to His healing power and almighty grace. I learned, the hard way, about letting go of my children.
As it turned out, neither of them was eager to go off to college. After returning to the states, they stayed with us for a couple more years, attending community college, before they left the nest for good. What a wonderful blessing to have had that extra time with them. I learned a mighty lesson in “letting go and letting God”.