Healing Yoga

“Sometimes People Need to Say Goodbye After Surgery”

Guest post by Patricia N. Sullivan

I stepped into the room, got my mat, and told the instructor, Kelsey, that it had been 3.5 weeks since I had had a radical hysterectomy. I felt reassured when she asked me what I thought I could do, and she recommended alternate poses so I would not strain my abdomen.

The class went well. I did more than I thought I could, but I was cautious enough not to overdo any pose. It felt good to be in yoga again.

At the end of the class during Savasana (the corpse pose), as I lay on my back with a bolster under my knees, Kelsey came over, knelt beside me, and quietly asked if she could touch me. I nodded as she slowly slipped her hand and arm underneath my lower back, placing her other hand gently on my belly.

I breathed deeply, feeling my bones settle into the mat as her hand barely rose and fell with my breaths.

As I relaxed in this embrace, I suddenly felt tears welling up in my eyes. Where was this coming from? I didn’t want to cry, so I continued to concentrate on my breathing, trying to calm myself. Kelsey gently released her touch and moved on to end the class with “Namaste.”

As everyone gathered up their mats, blankets, and blocks, I wanted to thank Kelsey, but I was afraid I’d cry if I tried to speak. Still, I took a deep breath, walked over to her, and began to tell her how much her embrace of my abdomen had affected me. As my words tumbled out, and so did my tears. “I don’t know why I’m crying,” I stammered.

People were waiting to talk to Kelsey, but she just looked at me and whispered, “Sometimes people need to say goodbye after surgery.” I was stunned. Saying goodbye had never been in my mind; I had been focused solely on my physical recovery. But somehow this fit. Her words stayed with me as I walked out of the room, tearfully acknowledging my own emptiness. Thank you, Kelsey, for unlocking a door I didn’t even know existed.

Goodbye ovaries, you’ve produced good eggs. Goodbye fallopian tubes, you’ve carried out your job. Goodbye uterus, you’ve cradled and nurtured my babies. Goodbye cervix, my portal to the world. I don’t need you anymore; I’ll miss you.

From the article published in Conquer Magazine on February 19, 2016: https://conquer-magazine.com/healing-yoga-sometimes-people-need-to-say-goodbye-after-surgery/

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