Healing from Loss: Losing Myself

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, looking at the photo of herself in the hospital.I don’t curse. Probably because of all the hours I spent as a kid in the back of my mother’s car, stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway, with my mother ranting at the wheel. There were f—ing idiots driving alongside us, damn a–holes in front of us, and  stinkin’ s—heads in the front. The swearing fascinated me. I couldn’t master her competence or style. So I never tried.

This past week, on the day of my colonoscopy, my friend drove me to and from the hospital and stayed for the brief review after the procedure.
“Do you remember what the doctor said?” she asked the next day when the whole event was a vague memory. I couldn’t even remember what the doctor looked like. “He couldn’t finish the last part of the procedure because you were in pain and were cursing,” she said.
“Me? I don’t curse,” I told her.
“You were cursing. Yes you were,” she insisted.

I was crushed. How rude, I thought. How crude. This couldn’t be true. The worst four-letter words I ever dared to use were “darn” and an occasional “what-the hell?” I got queasy just typing those. The self-image I’d always nursed of a bland, demure, tight-lipped girl-woman was suddenly gone. My self-identity was a fraud. Here I was trying to recover from the loss of my daughter and I somehow had lost myself.
Who am I? Whose words did I use, I wonder? My son’s? I’d heard a sorry earful the time he broke his leg in high school and the doctor set the bone without using anesthesia. Or did I use the long forgotten language of my mother stuck in traffic on the LIE?

Flummoxed, I then had to wonder: what else did I not know about myself?

“Right after the procedure you wanted me to take your photograph,” my friend said. I winced at the photos of me sitting up, wrapped in the hospital gown and blankets, silly and shameless.

No. I definitely don’t know her.

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8 thoughts on “Healing from Loss: Losing Myself


    Ahhh… So nice to know you, too, are human. Kind of humbling, huh? Believe it or not, swearing doesn’t make you a bad person. It’s actions that count, not words.

    1. robinbot Post author

      Very humbling. What does one do under anesthesia? Might I have kicked the doctor, hit a nurse, and thrown my gown off as well as let out a flood of cursing? I’m still embarrassed about that whole event. And really curious about what else really went on. Thanks for “joining” the reply squad. I really appreciate it.

  2. Elaine Mansfield

    Wonderful. We do lose ourselves in grief and with anesthesia, too. The photograph is fantastic. The interwoven stories of you grappling with the shadow are priceless. So much said with a few well chosen words.

    1. robinbot Post author

      Thanks, Elaine. It is so scary how we can lose ourselves and our time. My mother used to say that no one would want to have second babies if they didn’t have anesthesia and could remember what they went through.
      Thanks for noticing that I’m trying to selective my fewer words more carefully and focus on the picture. Cheers!

  3. Kirsten Wasson

    Sitting up, silly and shameless. Wonderful (alliterative) description. Isn’t that who we all are inside? At least you were sitting up!
    And you should embrace the inner- Swearing Robin. I’m sure she has some choice phrases for choice moments–like getting a colonoscopy.
    Enjoyed this blog so much!

    1. robinbot Post author

      I think I probably over-exposed myself here on a few counts but you are right about that being who we all are. Never considered that as I clicked the publish-button, sweating. Still wondering what my choice phrases were though. Cheers!!

    1. robinbot Post author

      yikes,Barb. Everytime I worry about how people will hate what I’ve written you come up with a response that puts me at ease and is usually followed by others like-minded. I must try to write more posts to your liking. Thank you so much.


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