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Do the Numbers

In my meditation this morning, I heard these words: 26 years old. 26 is a number I associate with my infant surgery for pyloric stenosis. I was operated on when I was 26 days old and at age 26, I had a major breakthrough about my operation. 8 (2 + 6) was my favorite number as a child, and I was born at 3:26 a.m.

I was 26 years old when I realized that I had been holding back crying since the operation. As crazy as it sounded, I told the therapist who happened to be answering the phones at the Women’s Center the day I showed up seeking help that I’d had a surgery 26 years ago but was afraid to cry and break my stitches. She put on the message machine, took me into a nearby room, closed the door, and said some magic words: Don’t worry, you can cry now. It’s ok. You won’t burst your stitches. Tears broke free. It wasn’t as if I had never cried since the surgery, but I had withheld my tears, fought them back if I could, felt frightened when I did cry, and steeled myself to my emotions, afraid that feelings were dangerous. The surgeon had told my mother before I was discharged that if I cried, my stitches would break and and I would die. At 26 years old, I finally started to live.

When I was a child, 8 was my favorite number (2 + 6). At age 8, I felt that life was full of wonderful possibilities and that my future held something exciting. I’d wake up eager to go to school and go to bed restless, excited about what the day would bring. My teacher loved me and I loved my teacher. I carried a little brown briefcase to school with my initials WPW on the latch. Homework was fun. Gym class was awesome. I liked the clothes I wore to school and the friends I had made. There were problems that upset me but overall, 2 + 6 was a time of hope and happiness.

The 26th day of July is when I was saved. My mother considered it my “second birthday.” It was also a day of anxiety, pain, terror, and anger as I was operated on in the early morning.  The previous afternoon, my mother had brought me to the hospital. I was down to 4 pounds. Once admitted, no more breast feeding, no more holding. Was I anesthetized for my surgery?  Many were not in the year 1952.  Was I intubated?  Given a paralytic drug instead of anesthesia?  Was I given a local?  Records gone, I will never know. I was rescued on the 26th and given new life. Life was also taken away, for my emotions were locked up, packed into a suitcase, and thrown into the sea. Still, the number 26 held magic.

26 has been a signpost for me. Years ago, when a friend suggested that I move into her friend’s studio, I wasn’t sure. I was also considering a small cabin. But when I heard that her friend’s phone number had a 26 in it, I immediately decided to take the studio, which I’ve rented happily ever since. 26 was good luck, survival. Though 26 was also restriction and pain, I saw it as a charm.

It’s time for a new number. I appreciate 26 and all it has been and meant, but my future demands new digits. In May, I’ll be retiring from full-time community college teaching and embarking on a career in public speaking and education, teaching courses in medical humanities, including writing as healing. I’m thinking about 7 and 27.  5 + 2 (’52, the year I was born) = 7.  26 + 1 (the day of my birth) = 27. July 27, 1952 was the first day of my new life without pyloric stenosis. I’m no numerologist, but I enjoy doing the numbers!

0 Responses to Do the Numbers

  1. I LOVE this post. So moving. Assigning meaning to our traumas is so very important, I think numbers do, absolutely hold meaning that is both sacred and magical. Just some special facts to reflect on:
    8 is a very special number. The very foundation of our DNA (64 codon), 64 symbols of the I-ching, The 8-fold path of dharma and in tarot it is justice and balance. 64 tetrahedral grid makes the geometry of space which is the design found in the kabbahlistic tree, the egptian cross of life, the seed of life. Also, the 8-spoked wheel of dharma that turns eternally.
    Indeed, a sacred and most special number!

  2. I LOVE this post. So moving. Assigning meaning to our traumas is so very important, I think numbers do, absolutely hold meaning that is both sacred and magical. Just some special facts to reflect on:
    8 is a very special number. The very foundation of our DNA (64 codon), 64 symbols of the I-ching, The 8-fold path of dharma and in tarot it is justice and balance. 64 tetrahedral grid makes the geometry of space which is the design found in the kabbahlistic tree, the egptian cross of life, the seed of life. Also, the 8-spoked wheel of dharma that turns eternally.
    Indeed, a sacred and most special number!

  3. Sudoku and TV games like “Letters and Numbers” keep reminding me that I’m as challenged by numbers as I am by anything that calls for coordination. So much the more do I admire and enjoy those who can be imaginative, creative, or just enjoy juggling numbers. Having said that, 26 is special to me too, being the birthdate of both of my family members who had pylorix – but don’t take that as a veiled request for you not to “move on” to a new and even better number for you!

  4. Sudoku and TV games like “Letters and Numbers” keep reminding me that I’m as challenged by numbers as I am by anything that calls for coordination. So much the more do I admire and enjoy those who can be imaginative, creative, or just enjoy juggling numbers. Having said that, 26 is special to me too, being the birthdate of both of my family members who had pylorix – but don’t take that as a veiled request for you not to “move on” to a new and even better number for you!

  5. All numbers have a special place. I happen to be a number 8 so I resonated quite familiarly with your post!
    Seven is very special as well. It is the “virgin” or heavenly number. In sacred geometry, it’s “virginal” quality was due to the fact that no other number in the dekad divides into 7. In the renaissance era, seven voices were always required to sing of the virgin Mary in order to ritualize the purity of 7. Heptagons were used exclusively in classical Greek art to give the unconscious a connection with 7. It’s not like the feminine 2, which is seen as multiplying. It’s not nourishing in the mother goddess way but seen as more sacred and revered. 7 and 12 are found so often in myth that the universal philosophy involved with these numbers is so extensive that I couldn’t even touch it here. Consider western music as having 7 diatonic scales, there is an entire cosmological translation of the seven scales that speak to the macrocosmic design of creation. 7 was quite intentional. Also, the rainbow which is known in ancient times as the “seven fold light” is a vibrating phenomenon we see in crystals, sound and light. Angel in Sanskrit in “Deva” which means shining being, 7 was seen as the inner light of gods and goddesses as well as sunlight which can be passed through a prism and broken up into the visible 7-fold light spectrum of the rainbow. Consider the 7 psychic organs of the body (chakras), the 7 divine metals of the alchemical process, Buddah meditating under the bodhi tree for 7 years, Pythagoras called 7 the “vehicle of life”.
    7 has also been associated with self-transformation, divine light and sacredness. Seems like you’re heading the right way!!!

  6. All numbers have a special place. I happen to be a number 8 so I resonated quite familiarly with your post!
    Seven is very special as well. It is the “virgin” or heavenly number. In sacred geometry, it’s “virginal” quality was due to the fact that no other number in the dekad divides into 7. In the renaissance era, seven voices were always required to sing of the virgin Mary in order to ritualize the purity of 7. Heptagons were used exclusively in classical Greek art to give the unconscious a connection with 7. It’s not like the feminine 2, which is seen as multiplying. It’s not nourishing in the mother goddess way but seen as more sacred and revered. 7 and 12 are found so often in myth that the universal philosophy involved with these numbers is so extensive that I couldn’t even touch it here. Consider western music as having 7 diatonic scales, there is an entire cosmological translation of the seven scales that speak to the macrocosmic design of creation. 7 was quite intentional. Also, the rainbow which is known in ancient times as the “seven fold light” is a vibrating phenomenon we see in crystals, sound and light. Angel in Sanskrit in “Deva” which means shining being, 7 was seen as the inner light of gods and goddesses as well as sunlight which can be passed through a prism and broken up into the visible 7-fold light spectrum of the rainbow. Consider the 7 psychic organs of the body (chakras), the 7 divine metals of the alchemical process, Buddah meditating under the bodhi tree for 7 years, Pythagoras called 7 the “vehicle of life”.
    7 has also been associated with self-transformation, divine light and sacredness. Seems like you’re heading the right way!!!

  7. For some reason, the number 26 sounds like too sick. Just some random and spontaneous thought that I had. All in all, it’s time to heal and let go of all meaning and meaningless things. Once you let go, Mrs. Williams, we can fly together. Plus, I’m so happy you responded. I have been reading your blog for a few hours.

  8. For some reason, the number 26 sounds like too sick. Just some random and spontaneous thought that I had. All in all, it’s time to heal and let go of all meaning and meaningless things. Once you let go, Mrs. Williams, we can fly together. Plus, I’m so happy you responded. I have been reading your blog for a few hours.

  9. Yes… 2 plus 7 equals 9, which has the highest frequencies from 1 through 9. I do connect with you as a human being and so forth. You taught me so much more about myself, and I am still learning day by day.

  10. Yes… 2 plus 7 equals 9, which has the highest frequencies from 1 through 9. I do connect with you as a human being and so forth. You taught me so much more about myself, and I am still learning day by day.

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