Dear Certainty,

I miss you. My heart and mind hurt without you. To be fair we have parted ways before but you always came back. It feels different this time though.

We were wonderful together. I could come here and write about all the things I knew and was sure of. Just like Oprah in her magazine column “What I know for sure”. I could comfort others with all my knowing! I loved that. I felt so useful and valuable. I was a helper and you were my partner.

This journey as the mother of a child with fibular hemimelia felt safer when I had you. The things I felt sure of were such a comfort to me. I knew that I knew what was right for Nicholas. I knew that choosing the right doctor, right surgery, right time, right anything would make it all ok and if not now eventually! There was a light at the end of the tunnel and I was heading there with my boy.

My baby grew to be a phenomenal young man because I made the right choices (maybe a bit of an illusion or delusion of control on my part). With you riding shotgun of course. What a journey. We rocked it!

Until we didn’t.

You left.

I panicked.

How is it possible that I could have felt so sure, of so much, for so long and have it taken away. I don’t know what is going to happen to Nick’s leg, mostly I mean foot but you get it. You know but you are not sharing any knowing with me. Nick’s foot is not working for him right now despite the fact that I believed we did all the right things. I feel like we are waiting on a Hail Mary pass in the form of a shoe insert. It could work. It’s really possible but it’s not certain so I have nothing to hold on to and I am tending toward the dramatic.

Even if it does work, I don’t know how long it will work for.

If it does not work, I don’t know what’s next.

I don’t know what’s best for Nicholas.

I don’t know.

And yet people still come to me with their questions…. I still have some answers but part of me wants to shout “Do you know who you are talking to? It’s just me. Certainty is gone! Don’t you want to ask someone who still has it?” All I really have is ambiguity and questions floating in my head.

Still it seems like somehow I am able to help others without you.

Nick seems ok without you too.

Not knowing what’s next is hard but not knowing means the possibilities are wide open. I don’t know what’s for the best. I only know that it’s possible that whatever happens could actually be for the best. Whatever outcome occurs fibular hemimelia wise, could actually end up being what is best for Nicholas as a growing and evolving human being.

I didn’t actually know 14 surgeries could contribute to Nicholas becoming a remarkable human being. I used to be certain that surgery was bad. It was just something you got through, you could make the most of it but it was still bad. Somewhere along the way I learned that surgery was not so black and white…

Fibular hemimelia as a whole is feeing really gray to me right now. Maybe this is for the best. All I want is for Nicholas to be able to walk pain free and without you I don’t know how he is going to get there. Everything is wide open. Maybe the light at the end of a tunnel was too small a light. Maybe the future is bigger and brighter than what I could be certain of…

I just don’t know and I am beginning to feel ok with that.



And here is the good news I mentioned in my last post:

Pippa Curley

4 thoughts on “Dear Certainty,”

  1. When I fist met you and your family, I looked in awe because you were so certain that your decision to save Nick’s leg no matter what was not the right but the only choice. Each time Nick has gone into surgery, I have hoped that all would go well, no infections, no continuing pain, no neuropathy or CRPS! Each time it has turned out fine. Now you are learning to live without that certainty but you will also learn that, it is not within your knowledge or ability to control the situation. Even your highly skilled and experienced doctor doesn’t have a crystal ball to know w hat will happen.

    What you will learn as you walk down this uncertain path is that Nick will be fine, you will continue to weight the options and help make each decision carefully. You will learn that you, Nick and your whole family have actually been walking an uncertain path all along but you didn’t see it that way because you felt you must be certain because the task was so large. You have all the skills you need and a wonderful family so all will be fine. Nick will be fine, even if in some pain or with an imperfect foot because Nick is Nick and he has all the love and support a young man could need.


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