Look inside my heart…

Guest post by Erin Hayes.

IF WE COULD SEE INSIDE other people’s hearts, what would happen?

You know what would happen? We’d become better people. I’m sure most have seen this video since it’s making its rounds on Facebook but in case you haven’t, this is wonderful and incredibly powerful.

It’s set in a hospital with only music and text stating why each person is in the hospital. When I watched it, it reminded me that I used to sit in the hospital cafeteria when my husband was first injured and watch others come and go. So I wouldn’t think about what was happening, I used to try to figure out why they were there.

Who was here for good reasons (babies being born, surgeries that went well) or for bad reasons. I never asked but instead just watched. And no one ever asked me what I was doing there…makes me wonder what they thought.

I’m sure I looked like hell. I was shell shocked. I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t eating. I definitely wasn’t bathing, so they had to know things weren’t good. But did they know that my entire world felt like it was crumbling around me and that I so desperately wanted someone to tell me that it was going to be okay?

Did they know that I couldn’t even look at my 6-month old daughter without crying?

Did they know that I couldn’t even hold her because the responsibility of being a ‘single parent’ in the physical sense was so overwhelming that I shut down? Did they know that every single minute of the day I begged someone to fix my husband?  Did they know that I was on the verge of giving up myself? I know they didn’t.

They had no idea.

They were worried about their own thoughts and issues and problems and family members. We all wandered around the hospital in a daze too consumed with our own problems to see anyone else’s. We couldn’t help each other since we couldn’t help ourselves.

I have no idea how anyone works in a hospital. I don’t. The constant heartbreak and emotional rollercoaster would be too much for my heart.

It aches even now for the people I saw while we were there. I wonder about them from time to time.  I wonder if the woman down the hall in the ICU made it.  I wonder if the 19 year old girl recovered. I wonder about all the babies I heard crying as I wandered the halls.

Hospitals are a strange place to me. They are the places you go to get “fixed” but some never get the outcome they desire. We certainly didn’t.

Going through that hard time and meeting the people that we met and opening up finally showed me that you really cannot judge a book by its cover. Yes, I used to do that and will admit that I still do it. BUT I will also admit that I catch myself and then try to rethink things about the individual.

I have no idea what they are going through on a daily basis.

I rarely let others know what I’m dealing with at home. It’s sometimes easier. This means that at work people don’t understand why I might be late. They just see that I’m late or that I have to leave early one day. Or that I have to work from home one day.

They do not understand that our PCA (Personal Care Assistant) has been sick this entire week. I’ve had to get up early, get myself ready and then get my husband ready while also fighting with my daughter on what clothes she can and cannot wear since IT’S STILL COLD OUTSIDE!

They do not understand that sometimes, while at work, my husband suprapubic tube will clog and I have to rush over and fix it or else he’ll get dysreflexic which is life threatening. Nor do they understand that I may have to go and pick up my daughter from school since I do not have anyone else available that day.

They see that my schedule varies and do not understand.

They do not ask.  I do not tell them.  Those are the times that I wish they could look into my heart…to see the pain. To see the stress.  To see the amount of responsibility that I carry with me every day. And to see the love I have for my family and friends.  To see the love I have for those around me that I want to help.

To see the love I have for my life. I think they would then understand.

They would understand that life doesn’t fit into a perfect little package of working 8-to-5, going home and hanging with family and spending weekends doing whatever you want. Life is messy. Life doesn’t listen and do what you want every day.

Life is unpredictable and I have learned that if you open yourself up to it and allow the universe to bring you what it thinks you need, then you will get what you need.

My heart is full but has room to grow. And I would love to share what’s inside it with others but I need others to be willing to take a minute to look inside. Today, tonight, tomorrow, take a look inside someone else’s heart. I think you’ll be surprised, in a very good way, at what you find.

Erin HayesCropped

Erin Hayes by Lauren Bodwell Photography

Erin has been a caregiver for her husband since December 2007, when he became quadriplegic, and is actively involved in the long-term care field as a family caregiver advocate. She currently resides in Maine with her husband and their daughter.

Read more about Erin’s journey on her blog: WeRockTheyRoll



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One thought on “Look inside my heart…

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    Dear Erin,
    Thank you for this beautiful post. I was a caregiver to my husband for two year during cancer treatment and until his death and for many years with my mother, but less intimately because she was in a skilled nursing home with Alzheimer’s. During these experiences, I watched others who were anxious and hopeful in the waiting room, in the chemo room as they tried to normalize the horrifying drips, in the grocery store where no one made eye contact, everywhere. I knew most everyone had a hard story to tell. I found your blog through Grief Healing. Thank you for your beautiful writing, for sharing your love and lessons, and for hanging in their with your husband with love, compassion, and I’m sure a bit of frazzled energy, too.
    With gratitude,
    Elaine (http://elainemansfield.com/)

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