Navigating a New Course


Twenty minutes after I leave home, I pull onto the access road to the hospital. Thinking how routine this already feels. Thinking I don’t want this to be a new normal. I navigate without conscious thought, easily finding my way to patient visitor parking. I park and walk toward the building, eager to see you, wondering how your night was. The doors open automatically as I approach, and I enter, turning left toward the stairs that will take me up to your room.

I’ve been up and down these stairs dozens of times in the past two days. Going to the bathroom. Trying to get cell phone reception. Calling people to give updates. Running to the car to grab something. Bringing your cell phone down so that texts will come through. Moving just to move.

At the bottom of the stairs this morning, I stop and look up, feeling my anxiety ratchet up. How will you be? How was your night? Will we get any answers today? Will they be reassuring or not? What happens next?

The steps stretch up before me. I take a deep breath and mount them slowly.




The wall along the stairs is decorated with large paintings, primarily Maine land- and seascapes. I haven’t looked at them closely, but in my many trips up and down, one in particular has drawn my eye again and again. Perhaps it’s because of its location–at the top of the stairs. Or perhaps because of its subject–a single sailboat underway in the midst of a vast expanse of ocean. The waters sometimes appear calm to me, and sometimes seem more turbulent. It must depend on the angle. Always, though, the sailboat looks the same– small and so vulnerable in the midst of so much water. No land in sight.

I climb the stairs slowly, my eyes lingering on that painting. On that small boat. On the blue seas surrounding it. I think of this journey we’re on, and wonder where we’re going. What will our destination be?

Finally, I reach the landing.

It feels selfish and cowardly, but I stand still for just a moment. Just one. I want to exist in this brief space of not knowing anything more. Just for a minute. One, long minute when nothing changes. Even though this minute is fraught, it could be easier than the next one. Or the next one could be easier, I remind myself. Though that’s just not the way I think. I’m so scared.

I take the moment. Stretch it out for a bit longer. Then I step forward, turn the corner, and walk down the hallway to your room.


25 thoughts on “Navigating a New Course

  1. Christine says:

    Having been in this situation I know this stretched out moment all to well. You captured the anxiety and even fear in this small moment so well that I want to reach beyond this page and hold my hand out to you. Holding you in my thoughts today.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. margaretsmn says:

    You capture your anxiety and fear in this little slice. I hope he’s feeling better and getting closer to answers. Hospitals can be such lonely places, for the patient and for loved ones. Hang in there. Sending some thoughts your way today.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Adrienne says:

    I am sorry you are going through this. You writing is outstanding- I felt the tension as if I was right there with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Catherine Nash says:

    You brought me along as a reader on this anxious journey – from the carpark, looking at the painting…so well written. Hope all goes well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lisa Corbett says:

    I’m feeling the same – but as a person who is making the phone calls to the people who are in the hospital and doctor’s offices. You’ve really captured the feeling of want to exist in the unknown for a moment more. I hope your news this morning was good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Our news is mostly a lot of unanswered questions but a lot of scary things have been ruled out. I do hope your news is good and wish you and your loved ones the best.


  6. Joanne Toft says:

    Well, written – I can feel your emotions and the need to take that one little minute to breath. I hope all turns out well and you are all home and comfortable soon! Sending healing thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Amy Warntz says:

    My thoughts are with you, Molly. May you find answers that heal and bring a sense of peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thank you so much, Amy. My husband is out of the hospital and things are settling down a bit. We still don’t have answers but have been able to cross some scary things off the list.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. cindaroo42 says:

    Wow Molly, very well done- you really captured that feeling of anxiety. I hope things are ok that is so scary!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Cindy. It was all very scary. We still don’t have answers but know that a few nasty things didn’t happen. We’re taking it moment by moment right now and trying not to get too stressed out.


  9. I could feel the range of emotions you experienced in the short walk from the parking lot to your husband’s room. I am sending you lots of positive thoughts for a quick recovery. I know how scary not knowing can be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I appreciate the positive thoughts so much. I struggle between wanting to know and not wanting to know. I have to really work to realize that knowing might be a relief, and could even be “good” news. Working on my worst-case scenario brain…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Amanda Potts says:

    Thin king of you. We had several really close calls this summer – the joys and pains of a large & loving family. I, too, have paused on the landing – although metaphorically, since I couldn’t get to the physical place when my father-in-law and stepsister were in the hospital. I am thinking of you and holding you close in my thoughts. And, honestly, I’m really impressed that you can write something so powerful in the middle of it all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Amanda. I wrote this a couple of days after I experienced it, so I wasn’t in the total thick of it. Writing about some of it helped me, and participating in SOL felt like some normalcy in a mixed-up world.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh, Molly! I’m so sorry you’ve been going through this ordeal. I’m glad to hear your husband is home and hope that you’ll soon get the answers you need.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. haitiruth says:

    ❤ Ruth,

    Liked by 1 person

  13. jcareyreads says:

    You stretched out this moment so well- all of the emotion. Thinking of you. ❤️


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