There is a hallway that stands as a paradox unto itself. It is a hallway filled with hope, but at the same time filled with unthinkable fear. A hallway that is both brightly lit, but at the same time oddly dim. It seems to be both too long, and at the same time all too short. You must not show fear in this hallway, but the fear that fills your heart is too great to bear alone.

As you walk through the hallway, you look at the doors on the sides, and feverish thoughts fill your head.

“I should just take her and run.”

“I can’t take her and run.”

“I wish we weren’t here.”

“Thank the goodness we are here.”

With every step, the precious bundle you carry in your arms grows heavier. With every step, you can feel yourself break a little more.

“I can’t do this.”

“I have to do this, I have to be strong for her.”

The nurse walking beside you says something, but you barely hear her; all your attention is divided between trying to walk in a straight line and holding on as tightly as you can.

This is not the first time you’ve walked this hallway, nor will it probably be the last. But you hope that you will not walk it again for a very long time.

At last, you reach the end of the hallway.

Three people come out of the doorway at the end and smile at you.

“We’ll take her from here. Time to say goodbye for a few hours.”

The tall, smiling doctor in scrubs lifts her out of your arms, and says, “We’ll take good care of her, Mom.”

You mumble something back, because all your energy is focused on not losing it.

You kiss her goodbye, and as soon as the doors close, you can finally break. You can cry, you can squeeze your husband’s hand so hard, it changes color.

The nurse smiles at you, and puts a hand on your shoulder. “He’s the best. All of them are. If I had a child, I would trust any surgeon here with her.”

You nod, but your thoughts are far away. They are praying, and asking God to guide the hands of the doctors, praying for no complications, praying that recovery will be smooth, and that she will be alright.

The nurse leads you to the elevators, and you glance backward down the hallway to the door she just went through. And finally, you leave the hallway.

There is a hallway that stands as a paradox unto itself. It is a hallway filled with hope, but at the same time filled with unthinkable fear. A hallway that is both brightly lit, but at the same time oddly dim. It seems to be both too long, and at the same time all too short.

This is it.

The hallway.

The hallway of Pediatric Heart Surgery.

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Amy Gray

Amy Gray is a twenty-something heart mom, who lives somewhere on the East coast, with her husband, and almost two children.  You can find her chasing a toddler, making yet another trip to the craft store, or pushing that load of laundry off to the side.