Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Freedom is an act

"During the Civil Rights Movement, our struggle was not about politics. It was about seeing a philosophy made manifest in our society that recognized the inextricable connection we have to each other. Those ideals represent what is eternally real and they are still true today, though they have receded from the forefront of American imagination. Yes, the election of Obama represented a significant step, but as the following election and all the days beyond that high point in American history have proved, it was not an ending. It was not even a beginning; it was one important step on a continuum of change. It was a major downpayment on the fulfillment of a dream. It was another milestone on our nation's road to freedom. But we must accept one central truth as participants in a democracy: Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society. The work of love, peace, and justice will always be necessary, until their realism and their imperative takes hold of our imagination, crowds out any dream of hatred and revenge, and fills up our existence with their power."

Rep. John Lewis in Across that Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America

A handful of students stood at the center of the white supremacists' torchlit rally in Charlottesville last weekend, decrying the hate. The hostile crowd pressed in on them, shouting epithets, but the students did not flinch. They held their "Act Against White Supremacy" banner high. I was afraid for them, and I loved them, too. This is courage. This is freedom, caught in the act. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

I heart this

On Facebook, my husband's younger brother posted these words: "I pray for the restoration of his health and the continuation of the joy and happiness we see here in his face."

Thank you, Bruce, both for the prayers and for that wonderful childhood picture of two brothers who love each other very much. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Pooled light

12.59 a.m.

I can't write all my fears here. I feel as if I must be brave, wear a brave face. So what's the use of writing anything then? It doesn't feel true. I listen to him breathing in the dark. It sounds labored. I'm scared.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Morning in the city

I went out early this morning to get the man a neck brace. His back is improving slowly, but now his neck is giving him hell, as he's been using it to stabilize his spine for the last two weeks and some. The heating pad has migrated from under his back to under his neck, so a neck brace seemed to be in order. He is now dozing with his neck immobilized. Before that, he walked to the bathroom and back without bracing against the walls much. He said he felt as if he was a misshapen C, but in fact his posture was straight and tall. It meant his back was holding him up without unbearable pain. I took it as a promise.

It felt peaceful strolling the city in the early morning. It's a beautiful day, not too warm, not in the least bit humid, the light falling at an angle just so. The man at the medical supply store was a bodhisattva, showing me the pros and cons of different braces, letting me know that if I needed it, they could deliver whatever else I might require. I don't know what it was about him. He just seemed so calm, so grounded and kind. It was impossible to think in a catastrophic way in his presence. I left feeling as if everything will be okay, I just have to give it time.

1. Barnard College, my alma mater. Those are the windows of the English department on the fourth floor. I knew it well. I was an English/Writing and Geography/Cartography double major. Such a long time ago, now. And yet, a blink.
2. Pomander Walk is a hidden Tudor-style village right on 94th Street on the Upper West Side. I lived in this city for decades before I even knew it was there.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


My husband seems to be turning a corner. If he's not yet fully around it, at least he's able to see around the bend to what lies ahead. Please hold a good thought.

Meanwhile, Trump is tweeting about poll numbers and fake news while North Korea tests nuclear missile warheads that could conceivably reach Chicago and even Washington D.C. He has made no comment whatsoever on the bombing of the Minneapolis mosque over the weekend. His lack of comment speaks loudly to his base.

Everywhere, people are struggling it seems, with physical challenges, emotional upsets, and one devastating tragedy in the life of someone we love. I'm trying to be present for people without allowing my perspective to turn gloomy. I'm trying to live in the light, which commonsense tells us exists in equal measure to the shadow.

It's later now. Maybe I lied about turning the corner. Tonight it looks more like we're still on approach. The muscle spasms are back. The slightest uncalculated movement brings them on, even running and jumping in his dreams. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Happy 91st birthday Aunt Grace!

My mom's third youngest sister is 91 years old today, and she wears it as gracefully as her name. There she is with two of her nine great grandchildren. The photo below is of two of her eight granddaughters, with another one of her greats. She also has one grandson among those eight granddaughter girls.

I've probably lost you in all the numbers, but here's another cherished one: Aunt Grace is one of the six girls in my mom's family, and they stayed extraordinarily close their entire lives. Three of the six, including my mom, are gone now, and the youngest two are not doing well. One had a stroke last week and is in the hospital as I write this. She also suffers from Alzheimers. The other is in and out of hospital with respiratory issues, and is too weak to travel anywhere else. Aunt Grace is the only one left who is up and about, jet setting between her children in Jamaica, The Bahamas, and Vancouver.

Those are the Vancouver granddaughters. There are four of them. The one that's missing now lives in Alberta with her husband and five kids. As you can see, our birthday girl has spawned some good looking offspring. In case you think that's an accident, here's a photo of Grace when she was in her early twenties. She was a beauty then, and she's a beauty now, inside and out, but even more than that, Aunt Grace has a delightful wit, and it doesn't quit. Her laugh rings out like bells.

Aunt Grace lives in Toronto, and loves having her own apartment, even though her two daughters both live in very elegant houses with suites set aside for her. Aunt Grace has many friends in Toronto, people she calls her "angels." Her daughters flew to be with her for her big day. She is the sister whose voice is so like my mother's even their own children couldn't tell them apart. That she is 91 today, and doing well, fills my heart to bursting.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Lifers at the farm

A group of them went to the farm this weekend, a mini reunion. I swiped this pic from Snapchat. These two were schoolbus buddies at four years old. They're all grown up now, and living on different coasts, but they still get together with the gang at the farm come summer, their soul cluster, all of them still close. I wanted a happy picture at the top of my blog because I don't want to dwell on the fact that my husband's painful spasms have not let go. Still, the X-ray showed no fracture of the spine, and no disc herniation or other misalignment, so the trend is positive.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Day 10

Found on tinybuddha: "We can't control everything. Sometimes we just need to relax and have faith that things will work out. Let go a little and let life happen." I am trying to remember this in the moments, and to be grateful for the rather expert help offered by our children. We have no answers, despite yesterday's blood work and X-rays, and the fierce inquiry of my husband's doctor, a tiny, brilliant woman who is anything but laissez faire. With her on the case, I trust answers are on the way.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Day 6

It's a calm blue day outside, not in the least bit humid, a gentle breeze rustling the leaves. I am mostly stuck inside, cranking through my daily 1,000 words and caring for the man whose back muscles stopped cooperating almost a week ago now; they haven't been cajoled back into service yet. Walking remains excruciating, but his appetite is slowly returning, and his mood is gentle. He is a better patient than I would have thought, considerate, undemanding, not crotchety as I thought he would be, and angry at his incapacitation. Instead he reads, is reflective and wryly humorous. And he's appreciative, though he doesn't actually say so. But I know how to read him; I know what the hand on my head in the middle of the night means. Oh how I wish him better. There will be more diagnostic steps to take once he is able to move around again, without such blinding pain. What brought this on? How to prevent its return? The body is a mystery.

Our son, keeping his dad company.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...