Reframing
Happy Second Life Birthday #2

Barbara called me this morning so I could have a chat with Vernon on the dialysis chair during her watch. I reminded him of the party yesterday. He admitted he didn’t remember it, but also that he was  thankful, it was so nice that we’d done that for him. After he thought he hung up, I could hear him relaying the conversation to Barbara. “They had a party for me yesterday. My friends came.”

It had been kind of a last minute idea, when the Logies called to say they’d put aside the day for whatever we wanted. I would have invited more friends I know Vernon would have enjoyed, but I wasn’t sure how how overwhelmed he might feel or how long he would last. So we only called a couple of inner-circle folk who had spent significant time with him…people who might even jog his memory from before.  It was such a success though, that I would love to start offering open house invitations on certain Sundays if others want to join in.

I always assumed Vernon was an introvert, but I’m not so sure about that anymore. Vernon needs his rest between things, but yesterday, he sat straight up in that chair for about four hours enjoying the buzz. When his RNA came to take him for a spin in the gym, I waived the privilege. How often does one get a party for the mere sake of being around? He might not remember it, but I think it did him a lot of good. He certainly seemed to enjoy basking in his friendships…even if he did need some reminders and introductions.

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I also got in a small but angry fight with an elderly gentleman who “pays $4000 a month for peace and quiet” and didn’t want our party on his courtyard. I’m sorry, I feel bad that old folks who have no other place to go have to put up with some fabulous music and the sound of children playing and people visiting and laughing once in awhile. I’ll be kind to the elderly and disabled, but in this case we are neighbors and have equal rights.  Vernon has the right to some enjoyment in his life at the expense of a bit of noise once in awhile. I was livid but still don’t feel bad for shouting back at an old man. Really! We are still neighbors in this place called life so make some noise and deal with each other’s noise…there’s enough room for everyone!

I had made a big deal about this month and this special weekend. I’m not completely there, but I did do MOST of my deep house-cleaning and putting-everything-in-its-place. My mind has been getting clearer by the day, even showing me room for new projects and ideas.  This very morning, I bought new towels as a reward.

Just as we are marking Vernon’s second anniversary since his accident, recognizing how much he has changed since a mere two years ago…I wanted to mark our our progress as a threesome at home, the kids and me. They say when a person sustains a brain injury (and I suppose any other traumatic event) their whole family experiences it as well…it just can’t be medically scanned as such. So if we look at things that way, its our second-life birthday as well.

At the invitation of a friend, we spent the afternoon riding a horse. Why not, right? I’ve heard its therapeutic. It certainly is an adventure! And something new that we’ve never done together.  I hadn’t ridden a horse since I was Maki’s age, when I used to ride frequently. As soon as I was on the saddle, my body remembered those days…and even earlier, forgotten memories of trail riding with cousins at ten or so. How wild is that?  The more we try to connect with a future life, the more we can connect with our past. It’s got to tie together somewhere.

Anyway, the kids loved it too. Here are a few photos from this afternoon. I love having new adventures on a Monday afternoon. I think we are up for more!

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Reframing
Happy Second Life Birthday #2