I missed her then. I truly did. I still do.
Recovery means so many things and has so many facets.
In Carol’s case, it was simply the struggle to walk again normally. To gain some semblance of her former functionality.
Would her personality, memory and wonderful sense of humor ever come back?
In more ways than we can ever conceive, it surpasses all understanding after all, new beginnings, exponential growth, surprising endings, even 1000 mile journeys all begin with the first step.
At first glance, very hesitant, hopelessly inept, pathetic. It hurt to watch. You could not help but feel her pain. Walker mandatory not optional. You had to be close to her to see the steely resolve, the determination so strong, yet hidden. Any progress was difficult to observe or ascertain as her brain injury had rendered her neither demonstrative or vocal. Yes, she truly had to and was able to let her walking do the talking.
We’d work together to think of the ways in which we could rebuild the simplest physical capability. The best idea that evolved over time was to walk to the nearby Park to feed apples that she sliced especially for the squirrels. This gave her resolve, expectancy of the next day, and another opportunity to walk and visit “her babies”.
She would dress for each new day and the short, difficult walk to the Park as if it were the most important social event of her lifetime. In reality, it was just another effort at physical therapy, rebuilding strength and restoring resolve. She announced each visit, exuberantly, “Grandma’s here.”
The cacophony of chirping squirrels announced to every nest that another round of juicy gala apples was about to be served.
Then, unexpectedly, she was gone. We had all lost her. I had not been home and I blamed myself. A couple of days after her death, I had the privilege to witness the littlest baby in the family of squirrels come out of her tree unaccompanied, and feed some apple to a big black bird waiting patiently on the ground.
Was it you Carol Lee? I think we both know, don’t we?
Congratulations John. Your stories and poetry are always inspiring. Those we love never leave us. Wishing you many happy years on your journey ahead. Thank you for the gift of your friendship and for always living life wholeheartedly.
♥. Niki Flow