Don’t it always seem to go

Life can blindside us. There we are, moving along in our daily routine, and wham. Something — whatever “it” is — calls us to attention.

For me, that “something” was a traumatic fall about two months ago. It’s miraculous — as my doctor has told me — that I didn’t break any bones or end up with a concussion when I hit that cement sidewalk. I’m in walk-feet-2forever gratitude for angels around me when I pitched head first.

But my teeth took the brunt of it, dislodging them and shoving them into my fractured jawbone.

Blood spewed everywhere and a kind lady saw me fall and took me into her home to help me clean up. I ended up in the ER that night with a CT Scan and being assessed and probed. Ironically, I knew the ER doctor from all my past visits with dad, who had a stroke three years ago.

The human part of me immediately kicked into “why” — that nasty question we ask about much of life.

When the shock and trauma of it all subsided, I realized that “why” was a waste of energy and time. It was a “victim” question and I didn’t like that. I decided, hey, it happened And now I was left with how I wanted to respond to the experience.

So how did I respond? Afterwards, not well. I wept, I was angry and I railed to the heavens that THIS could not be happening, not now. I wanted to write my second book. But had I really been doing that? I needed to continue to help care for dad. But really, now, didn’t I need a respite of some kind?

And then, I watched as self-blame kicked in. How could I have been so stupid, so unaware as to allow this to happen?

woman-floating-paperworkI’d process all those questions later. But right after the accident, I was still in shock, or some kind of post-traumatic stress, my body banged up and sore. I fell into periods of the deepest sleep I’ve ever known. So comatose, in fact, those sleeps frightened me.

But I decided to allow it all. I may not have liked it, but I knew on some level that I had to give permission for all this to unfold. I couldn’t — and still can’t — eat solid food. (Silver lining here: I’ve lost a lot of weight that needed to go.) And I needed tremendous amounts of bedrest. No more go-go-go. No more to-do lists.

Just being. Just resting. Just deep listening and deep sleeps.

I’ve had a good amount of dental work done at this point.  There’s much more ahead. And I’m thankful that some of my stamina has returned.

But here’s what I’m most thankful for, believe it or not.

Taking a shower. Cooking a meal, even if it is soup or mashed potatoes. Driving to the grocery store. Dusting and vacuuming. Crazy, right? No. Those simple things I once took for granted, that were part of an ordinary day — now I see them as gifts.

Here’s the point, my friends. We are given lives that, in the main, are routine. We wake, we eat breakfast, we brush our teeth, we go to work. Or we stay home and care for a family. Or we pay bills, call a friend, clean the house, prepare dinner, help the kids with homework.

dishes-2-620These very simple, simple things in life are gifts. Blessings. To NOT be able to do them for what has seemed such a long period of time — and now to be able to do them — is a gift beyond telling.

The fall, yes, was a huge wake-up call on many levels. And I know those lessons will be sifting through my soul for some time to come. For now, one major lesson is that time is limited and we never know what might happen. So, yes, I do want to write that book, many books. And yes, I need to learn to better balance caregiving my dad with my own self-care.

But I don’t want to overthink or analyze all this. I just want to continue to “be” with whatever this experience needs to be — in the moment.

And in the moment, I can say that this challenge fills me with boundless gratitude. I am aware now of the smallest of blessings. To breathe. To move. To laugh and cry.

holdingspaceforyourselffeatureAnd even though I have always been somewhat mindful of those who have chronic health problems, those who are shut in, those who are fleeing their countries and have so little — now I am almost painfully attentive to how much I do have, how so many people in the world would cherish those things I once complained about or took for granted.

In the end, life in all its spectrum will be with us — from dazzling joy to crippling sorrow to somewhere in between. Can we learn to accept it all, to learn and grow through it all, to be kind to ourselves and not judge the experience or fall into self-blame (as I am still learning)?

As I continue to mend, I find that I am in the moment as never before, savoring the crimson and gold leaves of autumn, the crisp cool morning air, the dishes in the sink, a hot shower, a warm bed, the neighbor who stops me to talk even though I am tired, the gift of a deep breath in and a deep breath out.

Gift and grace. And so much more. As Joni sang, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.”

Let’s be here now. Thankful, now.

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Don’t it always seem to go

  1. Beautiful. Thank you. Thank you for reminding me of my own experience, much like yours, and how very grateful I felt to even get through a shower… how long I went without choosing my own groceries… and what a joy it was and still is…!…to choose my own apple, hold it to my face and breathe in the apple goodness! Those kinds of simple things are such gifts, and it is a gift to realize that.

    I’m very glad you are feeling blessed. Thank you for touching my heart with your words of the heart. Thank you for thinking with love of those who are chronically ill or shut in. Joni knew what she was talking about… and so do you. Happy “now” to you, and to all of us.

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    • It means so much to me to read your comments, Kris. Thank you from MY heart because you’ve touched it with your kind words. Yes to a happy “now” for us all … deep gratitude to you!

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  2. Hi Marielena,
    I’m so sorry to hear of your accident, but I am glad you’ve reached the point that you’ve found gratitude. I’m going to forward this post to a good friend of mine who is still recovering from a somewhat similar fall last November, only in her case she fell headfirst down a flight of concrete stairs,nearly broke her neck, put a dent in her forehead that’s still there and was paralyzed for a time.

    To me, her recovery was nothing short of miraculous. She still can’t drive and there’s something pinching a nerve or something that is still causing her great pain and limitation of movement in her left arm, but she’s walking around and doing many of the things she was able to do before the accident.

    I’m just not sure how aware she is of these blessings. She never had to struggle with any disability before this–as I do daily, having been born prematurely and “blessed” with mild (truly a blessing!) Cerebral Palsy–and she’s a young 75 now. I know that’s she’s still somewhat down about it all, especially about what’s still going on with her left arm and hand, but I think reading this may help her.

    Bless you for this message, and may you continue to write many more such inspired pieces!

    Shari Broyer

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    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Shari, and sharing about your friend. I will hold her in my prayers. And you, as well. I didn’t know you had CP. There are many with challenges we don’t know about, so I always feel it’s important to be as loving and kind to others — and ourselves — as we can. This ongoing experience has given me a heightened sensitivity to the many blessings we all have. Thanks again for stopping in to read my blog post and for your comments. I so appreciate them!

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  3. Glad to see you writing about this hard experience. Hopefully that’s adding some therapeutic value for you. Inspired by your resolve! Continuing to pray for your healing and your spirit. You do such a great job of taking care of my grandparents; here’s to taking some precious time for yourself. Love you, Cha Cha!

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    • Writing for me always has therapeutic value, Tom! Thanks for your kind words and especially for healing of body and spirit. And for your gentle encouragement, dear nephew, in taking precious time for myself. Love you lots!

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  4. My dear friend, you have been away, and I have been away, (even though we keep wonderful email contact)…and now here you are and it is such a treat to once again be reading your blog! Reading your blog I too was taken back to the time of my diagnosis, when the earth swirled in grey and stood still a while…and then like you, slowly but surely the enormous appreciation for all the little things….and for life itself.
    Marielena, I’m so happy you did mindfulness with Kabat Zinn a while back. I am forever grateful I to have done it too, and try to live it in all its ways to this day…and always with much gratitude. ♡​

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    • I’m slowly moving my heart and spirit back into my blog, dearest Karen, and it’s such a pleasure to do this. As it is a pleasure to do so many things that before I took for granted. Thank you for being such a faithful friend and reader. I’m taking each day moment by moment by moment ….. and with deep gratitude to you! ❤

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