25 July 2020

Beware The Thin Ice...

How does one know when the journey is complete when the destination is unknown? A little fox early in its life leaves the family and explores the territory not knowing where the boundaries are and what it will experience along the way. The little fox will encounter many dangers along the way and needs to be alert to the thin ice that covers the little brooks it crosses lest he get his tail wet but there will be happy surprises too along the way such as wonderful sunsets and sunrises and good food to eat and social nourishments: there will be joy and happiness and fear and anger. This is how our life has been these nine months.

All I know is that I look for the long moments of joy and happiness. Henry looks for independence from having to have me or anyone else do for him what he used to do for himself. Henry and I are solitary people who love to come together and enjoy the company of each other and talk about what happened in those times when we are apart. I know we are getting closer to that boundary but so far it's unknown territory. We have longer moments of joy and happiness than moments of despair and anger. Henry is spending much more time up and walking with the prosthetic and walker and he's learning to walk with a cane. Six weeks ago we measured his walks in feet and now we can measure a mile or more in a single walk. 

On my big book case 
I keep a handmade box with a cobblestone from Paris; it reminds me that we walked so many of those streets and discovered so many places and made so many friends over the years of our visits. It also serves as inspiration for future journeys.Henry smiles and laughs more now than he has in the last nine months: this is how I know the journey is nearing a milestone but perhaps not the end. Of course I am referring to the journey of the moment one does not want to look forward beyond the present and we are taught in Mindfulness not to be judgmental of the moment but that is so hard and when we lose ourselves we suffer by remembering what used to be and what might come. Joy can be found in the moment: Henry painting and coloring, music playing to accompany our day: I absorb myself in a book or write in my journal. 

The COVID pandemic has isolated us from so many of our friends but Henry and I stay in touch through texts and video calls on FaceTime and WhatsApp. Recently several old friends found this weblog and contacted me by e-mail. It is a wonderful thing to reconnect after so many years. Likewise Henry's FaceBook page gets so many happy responses to his posts and I can tell how healing it is for him to read the loving and caring messages he gets. Everyone ends these messages of reaching out with three words: Keep in touch.

Keep in touch!

Be fierce and thrive...


09 July 2020

A Random Update On Our Lives Now...

A few weeks ago I turned 71. Of course it was meant to be a milestone and celebrated with friends but we opted to delay any celebration until after the quarantine is lifted and people can gather again. Last year when I turned 70 I was joined by my close friends here in Los Angeles and we kicked off what was supposed to be a year of celebrations. Henry and I left for Europe that September and spent a wonderful time with our friends KB and WB there; visiting the little village of St. Agnes and lounging at our hotel in Talamanca, Ibiza; and dancing all night to dawn at Heart. Then we flew to Paris where we spent two weeks with our friends TMT and CD. Henry and I love Paris and he shopped everyday and we explored new neighborhoods discovering little curio shops we never would have seen had we not walked down streets no tourists would. Henry being Henry smelled a fragrance he loved and chased the wearer (a young man on his lunch break) to ask him what he was wearing: we later came upon the little shop that made the perfume. It was a magical time for us. Henry left and I stayed on for another three weeks 
and began work on a project I had planned during the summer and came back to the US on October 21. I was only home for two weeks before the accident and the rest is recounted here below in the many posts since then...

• • •

I've kept a diary/journal/notebook for over 60 years. My first diary was given to me by my aunt Mary Hopbell Maines: it was one of those My Diary books with a lock and key. I wrote diligently in that little book all my secrets until I used it all up. 
I then bought a composition notebook to continue my daily habit that I've kept up since then. Now I carry little notebooks with me and type my entries every night or early morning into a text program on my computer. Since 1 November 2019 the only topic I write about is Henry and his status and progress. I've only just began writing about anything else like the Coronavirus or the Black Lives Matter protests in last two weeks. This is because Henry's progress is so great and while we have many emotional moments caused by the damage done to his body we also have many joyful and hopeful moments because of the achievement of his goals to get his life back to some new normalcy. This is difficult because of the "Stay Inside" orders here in Los Angeles which has caused an absence of friends but we are having more good times than bad these days.
• • •
Yesterday Henry walked well over a mile and went to the market in our neighborhood and today he is going to his dentist to have a partial dental plate fitted in his mouth which will greatly improve his self esteem. His physical and occupational therapists report he is improving his balance and his stamina. He spends part of every day up and walking and where a month ago he spent most of the day in his bed now he spends most of the day moving about the flat or playing cards with me while sitting in his chair. He is able to make his breakfast and help with the cooking (like teaching me how to make proper collard greens); he can clean up the flat and pull his bed together. These are all activities you and I take for granted but for him it has taken eight long months to achieve. 

His progress is a tribute to his strong desire to heal. I am beginning to feel better about when I am not around him in the flat and he loves his alone time. These eight months have been so difficult and I am grateful to have discovered Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction classes that have given me back my sleep on most nights and eased my anxiety about Henry's well-being. I am so grateful he is alive and I am hopeful that we will soon walk the beaches of Ibiza and dance all night in the clubs there and walk the streets of Paris and enjoy our great friends again.

Be fierce and thrive!