One night between the time of my shoulder and brain surgeries we were watching a movie, Safe Haven, featuring Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough. In the movie Josh Duahmel plays a widower. At one point he opens a desk drawer that’s filled with cards that his wife had already written for each stage of life such as anniversaries and birthdays.
That night I wept wondering if I should do the same thing. What if something went wrong with my brain surgery? Would I ever wake up again? This was a real fear of mine.
I trusted my neurosurgeon and his team. This is what he does for his career. But, there was still that fear.
While I was in the hospital for the 12 days from the day of my initial seizures I had met with him nearly daily. We had come to know each other well. We had developed a great rapport. But again, there was still that fear.
We all know someone who has had a joint surgery but very few will ever know someone who has gone through brain surgery. That’s why we through around phrases such as “it’s not rocket science” and “it’s not brain surgery.” As I have told friends, it is a very small club that you hope you’re never invited to.
When I was talking with the best-selling author of Groundswell, Josh Bernoff a few days ago, he mentioned that he was getting ready to talk to a former three-time Navy SEAL platoon commander. Josh mentioned that this former platoon commander, Alden Mills, and CEO of one of the fastest-growing companies in America, had given a TEDx talk about becoming unstoppable.
I immediately found the talk and watched it. Navy SEALS train to be unstoppable. Throughout my recovery I told myself every day that wouldn’t be stopped - that I was built unstoppable. One foot in front of the other - exactly what he talks about his mentality was going through Hell Week.
During the talk, Mr. Mills discusses having to write letters to his family, including his children, before SEAL team deployments in case he didn’t return. That letter would be given to his family members along with the U.S. flag.
As he discussed this I felt that heavy feeling in my heart again when the thought of having to do the same passed through my mind. Though two completely different situations and for two different reasons it still caused that rush of emotion.
It leads me to this - if you sat down today to write your final letter to your family, what would it say?
It is much more than just what you would want on your tombstone.