Connect and Redirect Technique
The Connect and Redirect Technique is referred to in the book the “Whole-Brain Child.” This technique is one that I hope to do (aka remember in a moment of chaos) with my children. This is where your left brain, right brain, and corpus callosum work together to create a relatable moment.
The logic of your left side (that is the side I operate heavily off of) and the emotion of your right side (I’ve been told I’m emotionally stagnant) work together in harmony. “Denial of our emotions isn’t the only danger we face when we rely too heavily on our left brain. We can also become too literal, leaving us without a sense of perspective, where we miss the meaning that comes from putting things in context.”
How My Parents Raised Us
My parents, in my opinion, are pretty opposite in personality. Pop is the definition of emotionally stunted, and my Oak allows her feelings to be all over her person. We, kids, are a good mix between the two. I’m a lot like Pop in how I handle things. In the past, I would be considered pretty cold and emotionless. As I’ve aged, I’m coming into my feelings and allowing myself to feel emotions. It is strange to be in the moment and let it go.
Still, I keep my outward emotions more to myself than I do to show them to others, but I’m getting better. My Lady taught me about the concept of feeling and allowing myself to show emotion. When she had her first TIA, it rocked my world. That night, the doctor told us she would likely have a massive stroke and die. He had a procedure he wanted to do in hopes of deterring this impending stroke.
The Night That Changed Me
That night, her youngest son and I sat with her at the hospital. At about one in the morning, her son decided that he would head home. She was resting peacefully, and I was happy to stay on hospital patrol. At about 1:30 am, I was sitting by her bed, and out of the blue, she started singing old-fashioned hymns.
That woman could sing, and it took me by surprise. She was wide awake and belting out some of the most beautiful hymns ever written. In the midst of it all, her nurse came flying into the room. She heard her singing from the nurse’s station. I looked at this sweet young girl, and she had tears. Stupid me, I thought she was moved by how my Lady sang. I was wrong. She was getting emotional because this was the moment the doctor was talking about earlier.
She was having a stroke and how it presented in her was through music. The brain is so astounding. I held her hand and sang with her. After she sat up, she looked at me with wide eyes and asked me if she was done raising me yet. I told her I didn’t feel like she was done. There was so much more for me to learn from her.
Ever so gently, she held my hand. She told me how strong I was and how far I had come in our journey together. My Lady told me how much she loved me, my husband, and our children. Then she talked about her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She told me I would be okay and that she was so excited to see “her Jerome” and, of course, Jesus.
My Emotions Overcame Me
I cried. My Lady sang. The love she showed me that night is forever etched in my heart. Thankfully, she didn’t leave me that night. The doctor prevented it from taking her life by doing whatever procedure he did. At that moment, my right brain took over entirely. It was such a bizarre feeling for me. However, after that happened, I quickly went into my left brain, where I lived. My emotions were stuff, and I was prepared to call her family and give them a recounting of the events that had happened. I wanted to be strong for them and give them all the information. They loved her way more than me, and they deserved a well-put-together account of that evening. I did that. It felt like I was reading off of a paper.
When my Doug showed back up, that was a different story. When Chelsea came, that was a different story. I have a bond with them that is different. They know me better than the rest of the family. I didn’t want to be a flake or not know the facts. That woman and Jerome produced some brilliant human beings who loved their Granny Jo very much.
As the Weeks Went By
My Lady would ask me to go over that night. In my mind, this was asked of me because she was having a stroke and didn’t remember. Your brain develops a type of amnesia when trauma occurs. I would busy myself with something mundane. Then, I would go over that night, never looking her in the eyes.
I would get to the part of her singing and skip everything that surrounded that moment. My story would always end up with how she survived, how loved she was, and how thankful I was that she was still with us. Left brain. Logic. No right brain. No emotion.
That irritated her. She would rewind and ask me to go over it again. I had to stop and tell her the part I skipped over this time. I had to do this while looking at her. Do you have any idea how hard that was for me?
My right brain would sneak in, and I would feel the lump in my throat. Then, like a thief in the night, my right brain would take over. She finally stopped me and asked me why I did that. Why do I shut my emotions off?
Letting it All Go
I told her that if I started crying, I would never stop. We talked about my fear of her leaving me alone that night. She eased my soul and said that crying was God’s way of allowing us to heal from the inside out. It was healthy to cry. By golly, I was going to sit there and tell her that story, and I was going to cry. She had tissues in her hand.
I sat at her feet, with my head on her lap. For the first time, I told her the entire story from start to finish. I cried so much my face was swollen. She just stroked my hair and loved me through it. We went through this same thing day after day.
What she didn’t realize that she was doing was the connect and redirect technique. She was taking a massive trauma out of my locked box and exposing it to light. She made me talk about it until it was filed appropriately in my brain. I can talk about it now. I do shed tears, but it is not all-consuming tears. I processed this night after many years.
Wow, this was such a God moment recounting that and realizing that she taught me all the things I would need to know. I thought I was learning all of this stuff from books. Now, I know that through the love and wisdom of her, my parents, granny, and my few support people, I am equipped to parent differently.
I may need to eat my feelings.