I have been entertaining visitors for the past two weeks. I am fortunate to have such wonderful friends and family come spend time with me. After two weeks of not writing, I was having trouble coming up with a topic until I stumbled on this idea yesterday. I stumbled, literally. It seems at least once every six months I fall down while I am walking. These are not subtle stumbles where I catch myself and get up quickly. No, these are the stumbles where I fall and find myself flat on the ground wondering if something is broken and then limp for the next several days. Yesterday was one of those falls.
I try to walk three miles every day. I like to be out in the fresh air and continuously try to improve the strength I have worked hard to develop since my stroke. Yesterday was a wonderful morning. I was enjoying the crisp air. I was feeling very good until I had cars stop for me and was suddenly surrounded by others out for a morning stroll. You see, my left toe dropped as it sometimes does when I am beginning to tire. I was stepping up but got caught on the curb with the front of my shoe. I twisted quickly as I fell and landed on my bum and back. People were asking me if I was okay and whether I could stand on my own. One lady opened her car door and asked if she could give me a ride home. I put on a big smile and graciously declined this lady’s offer. I thanked the man holding my arm as I stood and insisted I was just fine. I smiled, nodded my head at the people watching and attempted to assure them I was okay and not hurt as I quickly walked away. I was fast in my departure being much too bull-headed to admit the pain and embarrassment I felt.
When I was sure no one could still see my face, I allowed the tears to slowly slide down. Though I generally smile and feel an immense amount of gratitude for my life, there are still certain occasions where I grieve what I have lost. Falling hard is one of those occasions. I grieve for what the stroke took from a physically fit twenty-seven year-old body. I want you to understand being sad is okay, but it cannot become the main emotion to recovering, healing and partaking in life in general. Tears slid down my face. Thankfully they were masked by the sunglasses I wore. I dried them by the time I was home.
Within a few hours I was laughing again. Color already started showing on my derriere. If my mom were still here and caught a glimpse of the brown and blue spreading to my hip, I never would have heard the end. I smiled as I thought she might have assumed she caught a glimpse of another tattoo. Oh my, would I have been in trouble! I know she has not gotten over the fact I got one years ago. When she had learned of that one, she was an angry, angry mom! Ah, the years of being a rebellious teen and making my parents suffer so. I shake my head and suppress a smile when I still get the occasional remark about it. I laughed at the thought of myself thinking, “Wow, I never knew what it felt like to stop traffic before!” I smiled because I now had a great excuse to wrap up and sit on my warm and cozy heating blanket all day long. And again, I laughed because I still could, and it felt great.
I cried because I know it is okay to be sad. I laughed because joy has always healed me both physically and mentally. I laugh, I cry and I smile because having emotions is healthy and having optimism that always returns will help me overcome obstacles I may, one day, be forced to face.
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.” Washington Irving (American Writer 1783-1859)