Friday, November 18, 2022

Brass Knuckles


    I love telling stories. I also love retelling stories that aren't mine. Stories that have been shared with me. Stories overheard. Stories that I have only become aware of because of always watching and observing others. Some stories, I will never repeat. They hide away deep in the recesses of my mind and often my heart. But those stories that are spoken of sometimes are relayed others a bit skewed. My aging mind forgets bits and pieces, words that were spoken, specific locations and even the people present. However, I find that the stories I share are important and often only meant for a person or two rather than the masses. 

    My mother was an excellent story teller and she had a superb memory. She could recall her junior high school teacher's names and her eyes would glimmer as she spoke about a treasured friend who lived down the street when she was five years old in St. Paul. She rarely needed to take out a cookbook or reference a recipe card as she stored it away after one cursory glance. As she aged, my sister and I noticed that some of the details would be edited or omitted when her memories became a little fuzzy around the edges.  

    When my sister and I were small, my mother regaled us with stories of her travels and stories of her family from when she was growing up. We always paid very close attention when she spoke of our Grandpa Joseph because he had passed away in 1962, many years before either of us were born. She spoke of his kindness, how everyone liked him and how he worked hard and was a great father. Grandpa Joseph was quite a bit older than Grandma Charlotte and that often reflected in the conversations they would have, how they parented and even in how they spent their time. Grandpa liked road trips and Grandma wasn't really a fan, but went along with his plans as she knew their three kids would enjoy any adventure. 

    Our mom often retold a story of a road trip they took out east. She spoke of different places they stayed, attractions they saw, pictures they posed for and postcards purchased. Do I remember most of the details she shared? I do not. But I wish I knew more. I will have to ask for more information from my aunt and uncle, her brother and sister this Christmas when we see each other. But what I do remember of that road trip to New York always makes me smile. 

    "Daddy always drove. ( I loved that she always referred to her dad as Daddy, even though she was an adult and he had passed away over 20 years prior.) I remember how much I liked that car and remember it felt spacious even with us three kids in the back seat driving across the country. I remember loving the city and couldn't believe how dirty it was and so much different than St. Paul and Minneapolis. Daddy got turned around right in the heart of New York City. (It probably wasn't in the heart of NYC, but that was the way she always told the story.) We seemed to drive down the same streets over and over again, but he persevered and kept peering out the windows trying to find out destination. I remember how warm it was that day and being in between so many buildings there wasn't much of a breeze. With all the windows down to let in as much air as possible, I remember Joe asking for water and Char wiping her head with the back of her hand and I kept pushing my curls away from my face. We were miserable in that hot car but tried not to complain because we knew it was stressful not being able to find where we were going."

    "As Daddy drove down a back alley, two men stumbled out of a doorway and slammed the back door of an apartment building." 

    ""Maria! Maria!"" A man called up to a second floor apartment. ""Throw down my brass knuckles!"" (The name of Maria was added because I have forgotten the name that was shouted.)

    "My eyes were as big as dinner plates. I stared at my parents in the front seat waiting for their response." Mom continued her story.

    "Placing her hand on your grandpa's arm on the wheel, grandpa took a deep breath. ""Joseph, get us out of here now. Kids roll up the windows immediately. We aren't sticking around see any brass knuckles in New York today."" My grandma Charlotte announced. 

    Do I know what happened? No. Do I wish I did? Absolutely? Did they see any brass knuckles being thrown down from the second floor apartment? What happened then? That was the end of the story. My mother ended the story there every time. She smiled and laughed to herself, but never volunteered any additional information. It has taken me until now to realize that it is a complete story in and of itself. My mom herself, may have not remembered any additional information. That story that she fondly remembered served a purpose in her mind and in her heart. The information she remembered and shared was all that mattered. 

    She told us that she enjoyed the road trip with her family. She enjoyed their company. She spoke of being protected and feeling safe in the presence of her mom and dad. She spoke only the words that mattered. 

    I have shared this story with my daughter a few times. I am sure I haven't gotten all the info right and am probably not doing it justice. But I smile and laugh to myself and remember the joy my mom experienced when she shared it with my sister and I. Her name may have not been Maria and I may always want to know what happened next, but for now, I have shared all the words that matter. 

JoAnn Grace Cook- 1945-2013

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Not If, But When

 Yesterday in Texas, another school shooting took place. The word another wasn't placed in the prior  sentence as an afterthought. It was placed with purpose and intention. In fact, 27 school shootings have happened so far just in the year 2022. This is a phenomenon in and of itself in that school shootings do not occur anywhere else in the world, only in the United States. So, when I state another school shooting has taken place, you, like me, should be appalled, completely gutted and brought to your knees. 

  I shut down the news hours ago. I turned off the T.V., logged off social media and decided that the internet isn't the best place for me now or in the near future. My heart aches for families, for students, for school personnel. I sat in prayer for a time today, not distracted by things of this world or new news reports. Through a time in prayer, I was able to contain the anger in me, yet it hasn't gone anywhere. 

  I will not make a political or gun rights statement. I will not retweet comments made by politicians. I will not engage in conversations or try to educate those that have no desire to understand or see something from another perspective. But I will sit in these feelings that I have about unthinkable situations like 27 school shootings in less than 5 months in this country we call home. 

  This morning, I didn't even see my kids before they left at 7 a.m. for school. My husband was up early as usual, and got the kids out the door. But just because my husband enabled me to stay in bed, didn't mean that I was sleeping. I couldn't. Rather than letting my brain spiral with worry over school and safety, I prayed. For families who have lost their children to a senseless tragedy. For my daughter and conversations she would hear and be a part of at school today. For my special needs adult son, and what he would see on the news that he so faithfully watches every morning and every night. For educators who are broken, worried and face the very real possibility of an intruder or school shooting each and every day. For bus drivers who are the first adult that many students see besides family each morning. For children who are still young and even in their teens who fully understand what happened in Texas yesterday and were worried about leaving home today. For the parents who pulled their children near and questioned if they were making the right decision of sending their kids out the door to a school where safety isn't guaranteed. I prayed for all of them. And I know many of you did also.

  When my 15 year old daughter came home from school today, I gently brought up the subject of the shooting and she said she hadn't even heard that it happened. She said teachers didn't talk about it, her friends never mentioned it and she hadn't sat to watch the news with her brother this morning before school. Lily's only question she asked was if it was near our friends in Texas. I told her no, and informed her it was a good 400 miles away from there. I told her that I loved her, she was safe and if she had any questions for her dad or I, to always feel free to ask. Our highly verbal, heart on her sleeve child assured us she would. 

  Tomorrow, we as parents will do it all over again. Pray for our children as they get ready to walk out the door. Pray for our children as they head to and are at school. And pray for our children as they head home and back into our open arms. We also won't forget what it feels like to hear news like this, yet again, and again. The disbelief, the sadness, the upset, the anger. May we never grow complacent, or think it is just a passing trend. Until major changes in our country are made, no real change will ever occur. And it won't be what if another shooting happens, but when. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The Night Sea Air

The Night Sea Air

By: Kelli J Gavin

For Writers Unite!

Sherri didn't really want to join me on this trip anyway. I shouldn't have felt guilty leaving her back in the hotel room, but for some reason I did. She said she would be fine and even smiled when I said I would be back in an hour, two tops. The guilt had already started to set in, and I made a mental note to stop at the taco truck on the corner on the way back and bring her something to eat. Sherri had said she wasn't hungry earlier when we arrived at the hotel, so she read a book while I devoured each bite of the meal I grabbed from the Greek Food Truck one block towards the pier. I knew she liked tacos. At least I thought she did. I said a prayer that she did because I didn't need to give her another reason to begrudge me. 

  I wanted to see the ocean again. I needed to see it again. I told Sherri it was calling my name. Sherri rolled her eyes and replied, "Nancy, why are you so dramatic? Everything you say sounds like you snagged it from a Jane Austen novel. The ocean doesn't call your name. You just like to take time off work, preferably near water."

  Feeling like she was just in a funk, I told her that I had already booked a room and if she liked I could book the airfare that night. I knew she didn't like flying, or hotels, or even the idea of sleeping in a bed that wasn't her own, but I also knew that she always found something to complain about. Every time I had begged her to join me in the past, Sherri finally relented and would say something like, "Well, maybe I could use a few days away." 

  When I booked the airfare, I didn't tell her it was two first class tickets. If I had, she would say I was making a fuss and maybe even refuse to go. She again rolled her eyes at me when we boarded the plane and we were in the second row behind the cockpit. Sherri was speechless when the flight attendant offered her a glass of champagne even before take-off. I loved every second of it. Being pampered wasn't something I had been used to, so I knew that this trip was going to be special, regardless of any additional eye rolling that may be shot in my general direction. 

  The car that picked us up at the airport was a nice way to be delivered to the Oasis by the Sea Hotel. We didn't even need to touch our bags or even our carry- on bags once we set them on the curb. Tom was an excellent driver and left both Sherri and I his card. "Ladies, it would be my pleasure to be of any assistance while you are here on your vacation. I only need two hours advance notice. I can take you anywhere you like and return you to the Oasis."

  "Thank you, Tom. That sounds excellent. Once we are settled, I will call you later this evening about our plans for the next few days." I liked Tom. I wanted this to be an effortless trip and knew using the services of a professional driver would be in our best interest.

  After I had eaten, I asked Sherri if she wanted to go for a swim or even down to the bar we passed in the lobby. "Not this evening. I am actually a bit tired from traveling. I think I just want to settle in for the evening. Maybe read and watch some T.V.. Tomorrow after breakfast, I would love to go for a swim I think."

  "I am feeling a bit restless. Would you mind if I walked down the pier and back? The one we saw just a few blocks before the hotel? I would love to take in the night sea air on our first night here."

  "Okay. Go "take in the night sea air." Sherri smirked.

  I had learned that Sherri really didn't mean anything with all her sarcasm and eye rolling. Always the cynic, her quirky personality grew on me as I got to know her about ten years ago. She slowly began to soften and even disclosed her painful childhood, the loss of her husband and the fact that she struggled to keep friends. I appreciated her honesty and told her she couldn't get rid of me if I tried. There were also those quite enduring moments when Sherri's eyes would soften and she would tell me she was glad that she could experience something with me, her dearest friend, for the first time. Because we didn't give gifts, we focused on taking trips together and experiencing life. She has been my closest friend all these years, and the person I needed to take with me on this final trip. 

  As I neared the pier, I pulled out my cell phone as I wanted to take a few pictures. The sights, the sounds, the smells. How could I capture the smells? A few restaurants with open air seating were full along the promenade and I felt serenaded by the sounds of people laughing and talking surrounded me. I smelled pizza and Asian cuisine and then saw a hot dog vendor at the foot of the pier. Yes, it was a little overwhelming, but back in the country where we lived, nothing like this existed. I welcomed the sensory overload as I tried to put my thoughts in some sort of order. 

  Walking the well lit pier at night was something I had always wanted to do. When I saw the picture online, I knew that is where I wanted to be. Something about how the water resided so far below the planks fascinated me. I supposed that when the tide came in, the water rose significantly, but I was thrilled to find it appeared the same way as it did in the picture online. The crowds seemed to thin out as I continued to walk slowly down the pier. The noise from the promenade faded and all I could hear were a few murmured conversations between couples, the obnoxious yet graceful seagulls swooping overhead and the faint sound of the wind. 

  Leaning over the railing for the first time, my elbows on the bar, I breathed in the night sea air I desperately craved. I then giggled to myself knowing Sherri would view this moment as unnecessary. I closed my eyes and focused my thoughts on the matter at hand. 

  This would be my last trip and I needed to share this with Sherri. The diagnosis of stage 4 breast cancer and the fact that it has spread to almost all of my abdominal organs and both lungs wasn't something that I was prepared to share with her. But I needed to know. The pain was manageable at this point, but for how long? How long would I be able to keep it under control with those little white pills the oncologist prescribed to me? Knowing that surgery and chemo would only slightly prolong my life for a few months or so, I chose, under wise counsel of the second and even third doctors, to concentrate on living my life, managing my pain and being thankful for the time I had left. They had advised travel immediately as it might not be possible soon. I knew this wasn't going to be an amazing trip with tons of sight seeing or excursions planned, but time spent by the pool, walking the pier, and enjoying great meals sounded wonderful to me. 

  I knew Sherri was tired after the day's travel, but I planned to sit her down and tell her when I returned to the room. I not only wanted to get it out of the way, I wanted to make sure that she didn't get upset if I waited closer to the time we returned home. Knowing she would be angry that I took her on this "fancy trip" only to tell her I was dying, it had to be tonight. I even made a mental note not to use the "flowery language" she hated and to just state the facts. Diagnosis. Prognosis. How I was feeling and what I was thinking. I knew I would finish with a note of thanks. I wanted to thank her for her friendship, her kindness and willingness to always do things I wanted to do and travel to the places I wanted to visit. But I also wanted to tell her that I was sorry I couldn't tell her all of this sooner and that I had been in denial through all of the extensive testing process. 

  Pondering how she would take this news, I hesitated walking back down the pier. Sitting on the bench, I bent my head in prayer asking God to calm my nerves, to soften Sherri's heart in advance and give me boldness in our much needed conversation. When I looked up, a young man held out a single red rose to me.

  "Welcome to The Oasis Pier. May this rose brighten your night." Before I could even mutter a Thank You, he moved on to a couple further back down the pier. 

  The rose was breathtakingly beautiful and the aroma wafted towards me as soon as it was in my hands. What a sweet gift to be bestowed as I had just finished praying. As I stood and felt a little off balance, I took a moment and knew it was time for another pill. Walking back down the pier and scanning all of the booths and shops, I finally spied the taco truck and slowly made my way to order. 

  "May I please order the taco trio? One beef, one chicken, one steak. Extra sour cream and a container of guac, please. And if you would please put it in a bag. Thank you." Placing the order I would have liked would just have to be what Sherri liked too. 

  I felt empowered. I had tacos in hand, a gorgeous red rose and a plan. Sherri was a good friend to me, she always had been. Yes, I knew this would be a difficult conversation, but it was necessary. Then, when everything had been discussed, we would sleep and be rejuvenated for the new day tomorrow. 

  As I removed the key card from my front pocket, I smiled and opened the door to our hotel room. I am thankful for the solo pier walk that night. To gather my thoughts, develop a plan and to take in the night sea air. 

Sunday, February 27, 2022

9 Years- Missing My Mom Today


Here is the thing. It does get easier. But it never fully fades away. I am used to it now. That absence, that lingering desire for one more conversation. That sudden feeling of loss in the dark of the night. Even though I am now used to all of this, it still hurts. Sometimes, how much I miss my mom sneaks up on me. It takes my breath away and makes tears spill from eyes. It makes me halt in place and question my next steps. Sometimes the grief is a thief of present joy. But essential, all the same. 

It has been 9 years. As I write that, I think- How is this possible? 9 years ago when my mom passed away, I felt it in my core. Unable to navigate daily life for a spell, I did the appropriate thing and sat in my grief. I let it permeate as I fully experienced the loss of a parent. Too many times in my life, I have watched people not want to have anything to do with loss. Grief is often too much to bear and pushing it away, far away seems to be the best option. But we all know how grief can be. It rears its ugly head when least expected, reminding you of unfinished and necessary business. I didn't want that to be me. I didn't want to feel burdened or incapable of forging through life because of a need to not feel, not experience, not deal with the loss of a parent. I also found that in intentional grieving, you can honor the memory of the one you have lost.

When tears fall, I remind myself that it is normal, acceptable and needed. But I no longer experience the onslaught as frequently. I remember she is in her Heavenly home with her Lord and Savior and what a mighty fine place that is to be. No more pain, nothing to worry about. Just adoration, praise and worship of a mighty King. I also am reminded that I, too, crave Heaven as my eternal home. 

I will never stop sharing stories with my kids or anyone that will listen.  I will never stop being thankful for my out of control larger than life mom. I will never forget whose daughter I am. 

Her name was Jo Cook. And she was an amazing mom. 

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Stand Up Slowly

  In January of 1995, I began working in a bank and I was excited to have my first job as an adult at a local financial institution. Two weeks after I started I was asked to work a long 12 hour split shift to help cover the numerous absences of my co-workers. My co-workers were attending a funeral of an employee from another branch. I commented that they must have known everyone because it sounded like so many people were attending the funeral. I was told they had been with the bank for about 8 years. I asked how the man had passed. I stood mouth agape listening to what happened. 

  The man was working in the vault room with a teller. Both the small upper and large lower vaults were open. Preparing to load the filled coin bags into the lower vault, as the teller counted the cash from the upper vault, the man leaned over and hoisted the heavy bag into the vault. As he stood up, he cracked the back of his head on the upper thick and heavy vault door. He didn't split his head open, but was in a lot of pain and immediately got an ice pack and sat down. His wife was called to come and get him and bring him home as the pain was excessive. Two days later, the man died from a massive brain bleed. It was horrible. From that day forward, every branch instituted a new rule. One vault open at a time and the 2nd person present had to keep their hand on the open top vault door at all times and the other person would be the counter and note taker. 

  My entire adult life I have been wary about hitting the back of the head. It instilled an unnatural fear in me. I never stand up under a shelf. I get into cars differently than I used to. I scope out my surroundings before standing up when I am seated on the floor. Every physical movement has become calculated and planned because of the death of a man I never met. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Winter Cabin

The Winter Cabin

By: Kelli J Gavin

For: Writers Unite!

Picture Story Prompt

  Understanding that he was upset with me yet again, I knew to just leave him alone. Whenever we disagreed, he wasn’t up for a fight. I appreciated the fact that he had lost his will to argue and walked away. I was worn out and did not possess an ounce of the energy it takes to engage with him. 

  Jonathan may be the smartest, most articulate man I have ever met. He graduated with honors in three years and then went on to receive two doctorates in the following four years. When he began to mansplain a simple concept, I sarcastically addressed him as “Dr. Jonathan” so that he would cease such obnoxious behavior. When he persisted, I reminded him that all of those degrees were absolutely not granted in the fields of common sense or how to pick up on social cues. 

  Wondering how long he would be out on the ice again, I knew that I needed to find something to keep me busy. After picking up two or three discarded books, I walked back to the picture window at the front of the cabin. This cabin that I adore has been in my family for as long as I can remember. Because we both didn’t mind the winter chill, we tended to be the only family members that planned multiple excursions up to northern Minnesota and the Gunflint Trail each winter. Enjoying the fact that we didn’t have to compete for space with my siblings or parents, we usually spread out throughout the cabin and sometimes even slept in separate rooms. Piling the beds with warm quilts and lighting a fire in both fireplaces helped keep us comfortable during our long weekend stays. 

  How was someone so tall and strong, so elegant? The way he crossed leg over leg, and glided in a perfectly straight line for such a long distance, made me believe he would, at some point, just keep skating away from me. When he grimaced to himself mid conversation and then said something like, “Let’s take a break” or “I’ll be back soon”, I knew that he would soon bundle himself up in every warm winter clothing item he brought with us and grab a hat, mittens and scarf from the basket by the front door. His too big parka zipped to his chin, he exited with his skates over his shoulder. He liked the bench to the left of where the dock normally resides in the summer. I had never been sure why he gravitated to that bench, but when he sat and methodically removed his tall winter boots and began to put on his skates is when my breathing had usually returned to an expected and normal rhythm. 

  I had always loved Jonathan. Since the moment we met. But I believe our love had changed somehow, even evolved into more of a comfortable companionship and mutual admiration rather than burning desire. I am sad to say that I enjoyed his silent companionship more than anything. When we played cards, watched a movie together or even read in the living room. Conversation wasn’t required. We may have looked at each other fondly while together, but neither of us felt compelled to speak anymore. He always kissed me each morning, when he returned from work and at night before bed, but that may have been the only times he touched me, and I was okay with this. 

  As I watched him step carefully onto the ice, he did a few gentle glides and then furiously began his endless cycle of crazy eights. Over and over again. I began to wonder if he ever became dizzy from his repetitive paths. If he did, he didn’t show it. Clapping his hands over his head a few times, I understood he was trying to warm himself up and increase the blood flow in his arms and hands. His movements were so predictable, I realized that his predictability is what calmed me. Yet annoyed me all the same.

  When Jonathan came in from the ice, he was silent, as expected. I had prepared a simple lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup and apples. He smiled at my own predictability displayed on the small table in the kitchen. As he stowed his hat, mittens and scarf and removed his boots on the mat to catch the melting snow chunks, he looked at me, but said nothing. He never broke eye contact as he hung up his parka on one of the many hooks haphazardly nailed to the wall by the door. 

  When he walked to the kitchen to meet me, he sat and we proceeded to eat in silence. He didn’t even attempt to make a connection, but then neither did I. Five years together and this is what we had come to. Silence while eating grilled cheese and tomato soup at the table in the cabin’s kitchen. 

  “I am going to say something that neither of us want to hear or say. I love you, but I am no longer in love with you. I think you feel the same. I think we need to take a break. I have located an apartment and taken out a 3-6 month flexible lease. I can move in when we get home. I think we should use this time to decide what is next for both of us.” Jonathan calmly explained.

  I didn’t cry. Not one tear. I reached out and touched his hand before I was ready to speak. Staring at my soup, a rush of emotion flooded me. It was a relief. It was the feeling of hope. It was a release from all the worry. It was needed.

  “Thank you. For making this decision for us. To be honest, I don’t think I could have done it. But thank you for knowing that we need to do this. Thank you for enabling both of us to take the needed next step in our own lives.” 

  Jonathan held my hand firmly and then pulled it to lips and kissed it. “I respect you and myself enough to know that we can’t keep doing this. This silence, this walking on eggshells. And also, there aren’t any great skating ponds back home. I need to skate when I am frustrated. Where am I going to skate back home if we were to stay together?”

  I began to laugh. Not just a giggle, but full on laughter. The tears came quickly as Jonathan began laughing. I was so thankful at that very moment for his awkward sense of humor. Laughing while parting ways wasn’t something that I ever expected to happen. 

  We laughed a bit more together as we chatted and finished our lunch. It registered to me that this was the last time we would be at the cabin together. And I was okay with it. We began to pack up our belongings and pick up around the cabin knowing we would be returning home a day early. I wasn’t concerned about what Jonathan would think, but as he drove, I reached out and held his hand for the better part of our drive back to Minneapolis. I knew it was the last time we would hold hands. 

  Now, ten months out, things are so much better. I enjoy my work again, I have made new friends and I joined a women’s art co-op. I am excited to spend this time with my family at the cabin this winter. When my brother’s kids run amuck, I won’t be overwhelmed and wish I hadn’t come the same weekend, but will welcome the chaos and all that comes with it. My parents were so glad I agreed to a family getaway weekend and even came a day early to prepare the winter cabin and make sure the refrigerator was full to welcome all the hungry mouths that would need to be fed. I am thankful for my family, for the cabin and for blustery winters which bring a thick sheet of ice to the lake. I am also thankful for my mistaken sightings of Jonathan skating his repetitive crazy eights. I know he isn’t there, but I will always love the memories of when he was. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

There Is Hope

 On October 29th, shortly after 9 p.m., I had a freak accident in my home. Slipping on water as I entered the bathroom, my leg folded underneath and behind me as I crashed to the floor. I instantly knew my leg was broken, as they were never intended to bend in that direction. I started screaming immediately not only from pain, but also fear set in. I couldn't believe what had happened in a blink of an eye. I summoned the courage to roll and get my bent leg out from underneath me. My family came running towards my screams and entered the bathroom just as I was lifting my leg and placing it on the floor.  

All that followed was horrible. An entire night in the ER because a bed wasn't available.  4 mega doses of narcotics and the pain was so intense, I questioned if anything had been administered. Poor communication among nurses, doctors and x-ray techs. No one really knew what had been communicated to me.  Information was communicated incorrectly. And I was still writhing in pain for nearly 8 hours. I wanted to go home and attempt to sleep in my own bed.

With an immobilization brace that stretches the entire length of my left leg, I have been instructed to not bear weight even if I can, to always use my crutches, conserve my strength and focus on swelling reduction and healing. All of this without pain meds due to GI issues and the fact that they rarely help me.

Last Wednesday, I saw the Orthopedic Specialist and was thrilled to find out that my tibia plateau fracture is broken with a indentation next to it rather than broken with shattered bone. Shattered bone would mean surgery with two long pins and a plate that would stay in my leg forever. Indentation of the bone means no weight, immobile, tons of rest and hopefully slowly transitioning to a hinged brace by 6-8 weeks and hopefully off crutches by 12 weeks with a hinged brace and then I would begin physical therapy. Yes, arthritis will set in. Yes, I will need a knee replacement in the future. But not now.  When I questioned the Orthopedic Specialist about how many patients spend these next 6-8 weeks and don't improve significantly and then he ends up having to do surgery anyway. He explained it has never happened and he wouldn't make the recommendation to avoid surgery now if it wouldn't benefit me in the long run. And he heard me when I said I need to get myself back to a point where I can take two walks a day with my dog swim whenever I want. 

So what do I do now until I see the specialist again on the 17th of November? Exactly what he said. Nothing. I move from couch to bed to chair and back again.  I am not a patient patient. I hate sitting and laying all day when I see so many things that need to be taken care of. Being completely helpless is completely humbling. 

I unfortunately have also developed a severe allergic reaction to something and my body is covered in hives. It makes me miserable and am dealing with itchy, burning skin and and many bloody sores. I look like a pin cushion and have tried every over the counter and prescription med under the sun. Two more meds were called in today to the pharmacy from a TeleMed Doctor. It is painful, disheartening and frustrating as the broken leg was already more than I can handle. 

But what have I discovered in the throes of misery? Kindness, beautiful servant hearts and that my local community is ready to serve others at a moment's notice. Jessica started a meal train and countless friends have signed up to bring meals into the month of December. Dawn brought me a desperately needed wheelchair.  Sharon and Emily have come to my home midday for the last 6 weekdays to care for me. Cassie has come every day for the last 6 weekdays to let my dog outside at 10 a.m. Michele jumped out of her car to walk with Josh and I on my first walk this past Sunday in the wheelchair. Alice asked me about my favorite foods from Trader Joes. And Jennifer picked up grocery essentials. Each of these dear people helped me and I am eternally grateful.

Was this all by chance? No. Never. It was orchestrated by a God who cares about the details. He cares about dogs needing to go outside. He cares about loneliness setting in and sending friends at the right time. He cares about nourishment and blessing a family when everything seems to be too much. And He cares about physical safety and provides help to walk on stairs and move pillows and adjust painful brace straps. God cares about each and every detail, because he loves and cares for us. He enables people to bless someone during their time of need.

While I am so grateful, I hope to also encourage you as the reader. If you are ever given the opportunity to help someone in need, do it. Without hesitation. Make that meal, hold someone's hand and pray with them, help with children and car rides. Be the one that selflessly fills in the gaps. 

I have a long road ahead of me, but I am so happy to know that help is there. My needs are great. I can not shower or dress on my own and I can't reach all of my wounds which need medication and bandages applied. But I also know that these needs will not always be present. And I look forward to a day when the pain is less, I am more mobile and everyday life becomes a bit less challenging. I am hopeful as I know how faithful God has been and will always be.

  • Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
    Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.
  • May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Brass Knuckles

         I love telling stories. I also love retelling stories that aren't mine. Stories that have been shared with me. Stories overhear...