Luv N Stuff

How The Open Heart Surgery of My X Husband Gifted Me With a “Fresh Perspective”

lindavioloWe had an instant connection my X and I, when we first met. A handsome, professional skiier. I fell in love with his eyes, his hands and his bad boy reputation immediately! We dated off and on for four years before we married. I believed, after our gorgeous wedding day we would remain intimately intact for life, I was right about the intact bit but the intimacy we shared had a shelf life to it, an expiry date if you will, that would rock our worlds.

It was December 13, 2007… a freezing winter complicated with the impending mitral valve surgery of my healthy, 42 year old husband. A congenital defect we were told, but with the most outstanding surgeon on our team full recovery was expected… so we thought!

I now can tell you this… that my soulful connection went into that surgery the love of my life and came out the day before Christmas an absolute stranger.

Our precious actor Robin Williams went through the same surgery the same year my X had his. After Robin passed away last year, I read an article from the Chief of Psychiatry, Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman. He states that “The valve replacement or repair involves stopping the heart. That kind of procedure under general anaesthesia increase the risk of depression. Cognitive function is affected!!!”. Which means perception. My husband never used that word before the surgery, after he came home it’s all I heard!, “That’s your perception!!!”. If we were in a discussion he know longer heard my feelings, my fears, my thoughts. Our marriage began to dissolve into a mass of blurred lines.

Another specialist Dr.Tara Narula, is quoted saying that “in these types of surgeries ’emboli’, little pieces of plaque, may break off when you cut into the heart and travel up into the brain, which results in changes to the brain’s structure and abilities. Anxiety and Depression post~op are multi-factorial.”

She’s right! I lived it and when I read this information after Robin’s passing… I cried!
Seven years ago I scoured the internet for answers. There was a theory called “pump head” but it seemed elusive. I was desperate to know where the charismatic, gregarious love of my life had gone. Taking his place was an angry, sullen, edgy asshole I would have never shared a bed with!

Left in the dark with a man I know longer understood, my own internal light flickering in it’s brightness, I demanded a divorce 2 years after that mitral valve surgery!

Then my healing began… I was quiet, but determined to keep the love “alive” for our 4 children. I trained my body hard, softening the edges with meditation. The universe brought me bluedog studios; a dynamic married photography team… we started creating a lifestyle cookbook. As I wrote recipes and challenged myself I felt my heartache step aside. The more I nurtured my soul with the beautiful madness in my kitchen, the more I grew away from resentment! My talented business partner and I had previously began a series of children’s books and last year I completed a memoir on addiction. That healed whatever piece of me that was left unturned. Don’t get me wrong, I had terrible moments but never terrible days. Vicious phone calls with my X, as he too dealt with his own fragile pieces, were always followed up by a fresh food offering, or some other bit if kindness I could think of, to help me fuse this partnership back together.

Our children require it. Whole~kind parents who have left their emotional shit behind so we can be there as a team for them!

It’s working! The man I had married is engaged in his own healing process. Today I call him a good man, a great daddy. The life altering surgery we went through took things from us that we could have never seen coming. Yet, I see we both have a new way of thinking, an unending compassion for the fragility of all things “Luv n Stuff”

I know there is a kindness and openness to my heart I didn’t have before equally paralleled by a new found strength and resilience. I would rather hear others speak about their life’s story now while feeding them a fantastic meal or teaching them to make their own. Out of my wounded loss I am finding wisdom, I am grateful.

One day at a time, I step forward energizing my world, excited with all that is before me. To my beloved X husband I realize now that I will always hold a love for you, our children and the life we shared all those days ago. A fresh perspective indeed!!!