Saturday, October 29, 2011
She was wearing a beautiful corsage of yellow rose buds and a smile resonating truth, strength, and courage, underscored with great pride. She was pushing the wheelchair of her son, severely injured by a brain injury in combat. I approached her in the main lobby of the new VA POLYTRAUMA REHABILITATION CENTER in San Antonio at the Grand Opening. As I held out my hand and heart to her, I was not at all certain what words would come out of my mouth. What could I possibly say to this warrior's mom that would have any meaning whatsoever? A mother just like those that I had seen so many times before with their own severely injured sons and daughters.
But she made it easy for me with her smile. For some reason, I would have expected nothing less.
I forgot the handshake and asked if I could give her a hug. She said 'certainly' and as I did so, I whispered a sincere thank you for what she had sacrificed, as well as her family. Kelsie was with me and I noticed her nudging the hand of this hero with her muzzle. He was unresponsive. Kelsie didn't give up, but it was no use.
There were many dignitaries from Washington D.C. and the State of Texas, but none impressed me as much as this mother. This is what the Polytrauma Center is predicated upon. Helping the warriors with more than one traumatic injury suffered in war. Their families will be able to stay with them and offer much needed love and support. This is where our PFHF Therapy Dogs will step in! This is where I feel certain we can make any day the best day of the week for these warriors who have sacrified so much and struggle each day to take another step, another breath, and recapture life to some degree as it once was.
I will see Cynde once again and Kelsie will again nudge a hand. And if my prayers are answered she will get petted and snuggled and loved on and whispered to one of these days by a young man who is but one of many who went to war for a cause, a mission, and a purpose only to come home severely injured. I looked at him in his wheelchair, so handsome in his gray suit and tie. I wanted to say thank you, but he would not have heard the words.
As I write this, CNN just announced 13 more troops were killed today in Afghanistan when a suicide bomber hit the bus in a NATO convoy. My heart breaks.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
This morning a question!
Do we ever slow down to consider how another person is feeling or to enjoy the simple pleasures right before us?
In the chaos and frustration and aggravation and sadness and joys of everyday living, do we ever really slow down to not only consider, but honestly care, how another person is feeling?
To consider what is true and real and honest. To understand. And yes to care, to really care.
Do we treat each other with respect, with a smile, with love?
As I have grown older the more I have 'gotten it.' The more I search and yearn to remove the clutter from my life and focus on those things and people that really matter. This, at least for me, captures the answer to why I have been put here on this earth.
I have a friend, a fantastic photographer, who when asked to photograph some of our wounded warriors, indicated she could only do it if she didn't have to actually look at them, but rather focus solely on them through the lens of her camera. For as she said, "This way it isn't real."
Our differences are obvious. I want to see, to be present, to witness, to hold close to my heart exactly what is right in front of me and to rid myself of the blindfold.
I find a warrior with all his scars is handsome, beautiful, real and alive. I find this is where life is. Where I find sacrifice and love of country and family. For me, living without scars and brokenness is a life not lived at all. For it is only in our brokenness that we become human, become alive. And yes, become real.
So today I invite you to not lose sight of caring how another person feels, who he or she is, and to just soak in the perfections and imperfections as part of the plan. As you race about don't forget to care, to feel, and to enjoy the small pleasures, as you make big plans. Don't forget to stop, to breathe, to enjoy the essence of this thing called life. Find what makes your heart sing and write your own music.
Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes you don't understand. Sometimes, sometimes you just have to remember that "Every hour of every day is an unspeakably perfect miracle." ~Walt Whitman
Today I write this for myself.
Monday, October 24, 2011
People cry not because they are weak. They cry because they have been strong for too long.
That describes me for the past several days. Life hurts. People hurt us, disappoint us, leave us speechless and bewildered. Decisions hurt. Words hurt. Choices that others make hurt. The thorns aren't so easy to remove.
We all need someone who listens when we need an ear. Who hear what comes from our hearts...from our souls. To recognize when we are in pain and simply need for them to sit quietly and hold us.
Perhaps people hurt us because we stop living life their way. Perhaps that is the answer. It is the only answer I came up with today, except for one.
Lying on the sofa this afternoon, full of tears and fears and doubts and anger, my precious dog, Gracie, climbed up onto my tummy and laid her head on my chest, as if to say I hear you, I feel your pain, and I am listening. She took a huge inhalation of breath, sighed and went to sleep. The warmth of her body on mine comforted me in a way nothing else could. She knew.
She just knew. She always has. When I am at my lowest point, she is always there. Words aren't needed, explanations, sympathy, or false understanding. Just my dog sensing I am in distress. Perhaps it is that because of her blindness, her other senses are more acute. But it really doesn't matter. What matters is that it happens. Odd when you tell people that have hurt you that you are in distress they turn away.
I wanted to whisper and tell her I appreciated her closeness and that it was helping, and it felt really good, but instead I decided to gently touch her muzzle with my trembling fingertips and try to breathe in and out
in unison with her. At last I fell asleep with my hand on the top of her head.
She stirred slightly and sighed again. I felt at peace. Nothing had really changed, but for a while I was able to release my emotions and sleep. Waking would come all too soon, but for a moment puppy sighs took away my pain.