I get the call finally. I am with some one I like. I am enjoying the company. I am enjoying the bliss of not knowing. I enjoying the getting to knowing. In one early morning phone call, with the simple words, it all shifts to not meaning a thing.
May never walk again.
It is those four words you don’t ever really think about except in the context of the nightly news horror show and tragic car accidents. In bite size news snippets that bear no relevance to your life at all. But the anxiety, the dread, the sheer terror of losing mobility, you don’t quite think about it?
But now, I do. Every damn day.
I think about what it means to be hobbled, to be maimed and the powerlessness that must come from the loss of autonomy, of freedom. The buzz of the hospital tubes, the steady hum of nurses chatter are now the background sounds to the conversations I have with my father and form the distracting hum of low level anxiety to my every day. The flow of thoughts of how my mother must be feeling. I am sure caretaker was not high on her list of retirement dreams. My brother, stoic and leaking tears at once, resigned to learning how to help my father take care of his every day tasks, now rendered laborious. It’s hard to brush your teeth with your wrong hand when your right one is still numb and immobile. Try it. I did. I can’t brush my teeth with my wrong hand. Then I feel guilty because I have the choice.
The arbitrariness of tragedy and personal loss is really arresting. It comes in no ways and in all ways at once. It exacerbates the insecurities we already have, heightens the loneliness we feel and exaggerates our alienation. In a simple phrase to match those words, it sucks. All i can do is trudge on knowing that the shock and grief will pass, that my love hasn’t changed and I will re-find my purpose. My compass feels slightly off true north right now, but in time, given time, I know it will reset. The test is patients. So say it lightly, let me down easy, make way and take care. I am not asking for much and yet, so very much.