I am my heart, not my head

I spent the afternoon in the ER on Sunday. Duncan and I were rear ended on the way back from his basketball game on Saturday morning. We went to Urgent Care Saturday afternoon and the provider there told me I have a concussion and, should my symptoms get worse, she wanted me to go to the ER for imaging.

On Sunday, I felt worse. So off to the ER I went.

As I lay on my little ER bed, waiting for either a CT scan or its results, headachey, fuzzy and trying not to worry that they’d either start drilling my holes in my head to relieve the pressure or that I’d continue to feel fractured and unlike myself for a long time into the future, I realized something: I’m not my brain.

Who I am, the essence of Joanna, the person you connect to and interact with, is not my brain. As much as I love my mind and its abilities to see patterns and themes, to connect dots, to analyze and draw conclusions, it’s not the whole of me or even the most important part.

I realized (and this is going to sound way more mushy and woo-woo than I’m comfortable with) that the heart of who I am is, well, my heart. My emotional center. That’s what makes an impact on others. It’s what connects us together. It’s what’s still there even when my brain isn’t functioning like it normally does.

I could barely speak coherent full sentences on Sunday. My thinking was fractured and jumpy. Sound and light were painful. But I still felt love.

I felt my mother-in-law’s loving touch as she rubbed my shoulder, sitting by my side and waiting.

I felt my friends’ care in their Facebook messages and texts asking after me and letting me know Duncan scored a basket in his last game of the season, as I couldn’t be there. And in the mason jars of soup and feedback and typo-finding on my latest manuscript they brought to my house.

I felt love in my daughter’s hands as she brushed my hair before bedtime, wanting to put me to bed and help me rest.

It’s love that connects us together.

Because even if I didn’t have my brain (which is still a bit sketchy today), if I couldn’t express this in words or understand what people are saying to me (I do understand the concept of brain rest and will go do that in a minute), our hearts are still connected.
Apparently it took a blow to the head to help me realize it.