Sunday, January 17, 2021


 I am home.

I am not yet whole.

I need a little extra help to get me through the day. Maybe 5 or 10 minutes in the morning will do it. My first thought was to get in an occupational therapist to see if an adaption can be made such that I need no extra help. She came up with a few ideas but none were immediately applicable. During her visit, she took in everything and kept circling back to the extra hands that Joe needed for that brief few minutes in the morning. We spoke about a personal support worker but that sounded too intrusive to me and way more formal an arrangement than I'd like.

So I let her wander around with Joe in tow while I went on the computer and contacted my neighbours across the wall. I told them the situation that I was in, I told them what I needed and asked if they could help for a couple of weeks. In a few minutes, it was all arranged and I knew it would be okay.

I told her about the arrangement and her first response was 'are they nice' as if their agreement to help wasn't evidence enough. Then she yattered on about how she could never do that, she's too independent, that asking people in your life for help was almost unnatural. 

But even so, by the time she'd left I had a plan in place and people to rely on.

And I wonder how many needs could be handled this way, neighbours being neighbours, people helping people. It wasn't even part of her evaluation, it was the question not asked.

But for me, I have great neighbours and right now, that's all I need to get back on my feet again. Tomorrow will take care of itself. 

Friday, January 15, 2021


 It's in the early afternoon and I am sitting at home writing a blog. The only thing that makes this noteworthy is that I was just discharged yesterday from a week's stay at the hospital. Joe came home to find me on the edge of the bed trying to put my pants on, but I couldn't do this simple task. I had already left home. I didn't recognize him or the ambulance guys or the hospital team. I was horribly confused and kept pulling the IV lines out of my arms and I lay covered in blood.

I knew that I wouldn't be alone, that Joe would be with me, so I began to call for him. In my mind, he was just out of sight and I needed to coach him back. For hours I called out 'Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe' and then I'd do it again. It alarmed me that they didn't know who Joe was and I begged them to listen to me. I WAS NOT ALONE. There was someone who loved me.

About 4 hours in someone stuck their head in my room and said, "He's not here, we are under lockdown. You are laying in a hospital room by yourself." This news settled me. Joe would be there he just couldn't be there right now. 

It took a couple of days but my knowledge of where I am in time and where I was presently located came back. The days became blurs as they sped by with the speed of inertia, nothing would happen, and then when something did, it really did.

I didn't see Joe, physically, until I was dropped off by transit back at home. The funny thing about being dazed and confused, you begin to feel a loss of trust in your senses. But, I need not have worried. There are not many things I am sure of in this world, but I am sure of this. I love Joe. He loves me right back.

Saturday, January 02, 2021

Moments: One of four

 He was running, keeping up with his mother who was animatedly talking on the phone. Then, suddenly he dropped. I turned from where I was seated waiting for Joe, I thought he'd fallen but he hadn't. He just stopped midstride and dropped to tie his shoe. He must have noticed the laces flapping and decided spur of the moment, to fix the situation. His mother, not noticing, kept walking. After a couple of steps, she noticed he wasn't beside her anymore she turned and saw him studiously tying his shoe.

After a couple of attempts, he started softly crying. He reached for his mother when she arrived and her phone was plopped into her purse and she accepted the hug. "What's wrong," she asked. He launched into a stream of frustration and self-abasement. He was stupid, he was dumb, he was never going to get it. His fingers all the while worked at the laced as if they independently were wishing the laces into a knot.

"Take a breath," she said.

"I'm going to make you late, Mom," he said.

"Take a breath," she said. "You aren't dumb, you are rushing. We have time. You have time," with that she took his hands and stopped the fingers. After a couple of seconds, she said, "Take another breath. Try now."

He focused on the laces and his fingers, under his command, did what they were supposed to do. The knot was tied.

"See," she said. He went to hug her and she stopped him. "You need to promise me that you will stop hurting yourself, calling yourself names, it's not okay. Now promise me." He did. Then she hugged him and they were on their way.

I have been sitting here struggling with what to do next. I want to leave it there, I want this to be simply an example of wonderful parenting. But, the devil is in the details, and sometimes meaning is too. Does it matter to the story that the son fighting to tie his shoes was in his thirties and his mother was at least 20 years older than him? Does it matter that this was a man with an intellectual disability?

I think, maybe it does.

I think that makes what she did more remarkable.

She didn't tie his shoe for him and rush off.

She hadn't given up.

She taught him how to create space for himself to succeed because she believed that success was possible. She taught him to be kinder to himself in a world wherein he may find little in the way of compassion.

We, all of us, need help with both those things. Making space. Inner kindness.

We, all of us, will be learning these things throughout our whole lives.