Monday, October 15, 2012

Seventeen Months

It was seventeen months since my dad died, on Saturday, October 13th.  I didn't mark the anniversary.
I was in Maine, having the kind of fall day that everyone thinks of when they think of fall.
Meaning, I was just living my life, deep in the rhythm of a crisp, sunny day, one where you're living each and every moment, just for itself, enjoying this weird ritual we call life.
Colours on trees. Driving upstate. A small quaint town that reminded me of the one my dad grew up in.  A college frisbee tournament, Mike's niece deeply enmeshed in the competition, all sorts of young, energetic college students running around a field, in teams, supporting each other. Cheering from the sidelines. Looking around and wondering, how, and when, exactly, did that time in my life slip from me, lightning-quick.
Driving looking for a beach with a view. Stopping at Dairy Queen. Eating sundaes in the car.
Me, musing to Mike that there are still small windows of time where I do forget my dad is gone.
Buying The Economist last week I thought, oh my dad will want to read this when I'm finished with it. And that sudden upside-down thought of,

But even musing to Mike didn't bring me back to the reality of the date, how much time has gone by, how much has happened, and, as Mike put it how time seems to feel like it's 'speeding up.

I've exchanged emails with a close friend lately about exhaustion, the onset of fall, the frustration of running injuries, how hard it was for me to sit out of the half marathon I worked hard to get to, and accepting the limitations of the body as it ages, as it heals, as it mends itself. I was actually glad to be out of the city while the race was going on so I didn't have to encounter it, see it, hear about it. Sad, huh? Self-centred.
But that's just how I feel.

Writing. As evidenced here, I haven't been doing a whole helluva lot of it.
Reading has been my balm lately, nights after work when I get home, even the tv doesn't really tempt me. I leave stacks of unopened mail. I don't look at my computer much at home. But my pile of library books gets dealt with every week, without fail. Seven day loans are not a problem. I sometimes take out more than one. And I read them all.

My latest discovery is a writer named Lisa Genova. She has a book out called "Still Alice" about a woman with EOAD. Early-onset-Alzheimer's Disease. She has a PhD in neuroscience from Harvard, so she has the research and knowledge to back up a book like this. But the book doesn't just cover the robbery of the mind for the protagonist, an professor. It tackles her relationships with her adult children. With her husband. With her colleagues--as the disease strips away her confidence and awareness. The notes she writes herself, questions about her memory. If I've ever wondered how to quantify memories, as a tangible...this book exposes this for me.
I just finished reading another novel of hers called "Left Neglected". The storyline seems tidy at first. Another high-achieving wife and mother. Her car accident on a slick, wet stretch of the Mass Pike. Her traumatic brain injury known as "left-neglect" where she is unaware of her left side. Of having a left side. Of seeing the left side. Her type-A personality goading her on to recovery, but realizing that she is unable to return to her six-figure job as a juggler in the corporate world. The support of her husband and children and her new skill of learning how to just 'be'. Re-connecting with her estranged mother. Illustrating how often in life, when one thing happens, other things often happen at the same time. It was a good read for someone like me, who, for the last five months since this head thing happened (five months ago today), I have really been unaccepting of the situation. Acting like not doing anything about it would somehow make it disappear. How slow the real healing has been. How much the little things mean when there is some advancement. How amazed I am to look back on three years of running, two of them during some of the most tumultuous times in my life, and be unable to get back to that right now, where I let running help to sustain me, because I simply can't.
That's where the reading comes in. My fallback when I'm not 100%.

So that's where it's at on this fine fall Monday. It's grey, it's cloudy, I've been up since 4:30 am catching planes to get home, I still want everything and more, and ever so slowly I keep trying to wake up.
Time speeds along.

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