Gems 8.180

I hope you’re having a beautiful day. ♡
Here’s another light-filled ¤ Gem ¤

Gratitude Day ☼ 28 October 2022

Carol Lee Serendipity

by John Olander

I missed her then, I truly did. I still do. Recovery means so many things and has so many facets. One thing I have learned in my own journey, no matter your stripe or difficulty, helping others helps me.

I had not seen her in a number of years. I certainly did not expect to see her on that day or to have the privilege of the events that would unfold in the ensuing months. I have heard it said, wisely, that you go nowhere by accident. Believe it.

It started with an accident, something happens that changes everything. Tomorrow’s never promised to any of us, or is it?

In Carol’s case, she had lost everything important. Her husband, her son, much of her physical capabilities, everything material, and stability itself. She had not, however, lost her will or determination. 

In our initial chance meeting, she asked me to help her to keep her from getting evicted. “John, you know real estate, will you help me?” Once I understood the facts, that particular challenge was a no-brainer. But in the course of helping Carol solve her housing challenge, I unexpectedly and unwittingly became her caretaker.

But even with the housing problem solved, Carol’s difficulties were considerable. 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. 

Initially, the initial time I spent with her, I was reconnecting and discovering the story or what had happened to her life. These were seconds which had permanently altered her mortal existence while at once revealing Her Spirit. 

What was left of her capability still enabled her smile and to recount vivid, fond memories of those who had gone before her. As she would tell me her memories, she would sit and braid her hair, with a knowing, luminescent glow. She already knew something we did not.

At first glance, Carol was physically 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.

Twice she had seizures, and fortunately, I was with her. She lived. Eight days in intensive care the second time. 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. 

As we would arrive at the Park at the sacred spot, she would announce 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 there and initially, I blamed myself. In reality, there was nothing I could have done. That’s easy, intellectually, emotionally, not so much.

A couple of days after her death, which was three after she and I had last fed “the grandkids”. I had the privilege to witness the littlest baby in the family of squirrels come out of her tree unaccompanied, and feed some of Carol’s apples to a big black bird waiting patiently on the ground. This was an unlikely pair indeed.

Was it you Carol Lee? I think we both know, don’t we? 

-John Olander

Image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay

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