I Was Wounded

We were only together for a short time
it was doomed from the start
I had a journal
he found me writing in it one day
life and relationships I’d told him
he wanted to read it
I let him
then he wanted to write in it
I was surprised a man would want to do this
but he did
and he stayed on topic
about our relationship
always his part in it
always his failings
he was younger than me
twelve years
I’d just gotten divorced and was wounded
small town gossip haunted me
But he was kind
I marveled at the simple things he wanted to do
like how we spent three evenings
trimming my Christmas tree
he’d confess later that he purposely went slow
so he could stay longer
he’d asked me to marry him
then took it back
he actually had commitment issues after all
but it was so good for that short time
I was wounded and he healed me
life moved on
we moved back to civilization
separate civilizations
years later
I found the journal
when sorting and moving
it all came rushing back
how things start and finish
in any other time and place
we’d have passed each other by
without a thought
but I was wounded.



On Being Dependently Independent

Anyone who’s lived their life on the go, able to do whatever they’ve wanted, finds it hard to admit when they suddenly have limits. That they might need help. Asking for favors is difficult. This has been my challenge for many years as my limitations have increased. But I think I’ve finally figured out how to accomplish my daily goals while not trying to be wonder woman.

My adjustment began simply and I was probably in denial for a long time. Starting with using the handicapped card stuck to the rear-view mirror. At first, I only used it when there were several other empty spots at the Target store. I felt self-conscious since I looked so healthy and maybe I was depriving someone who really needed it.

Then there was my cane. I felt so conspicuous. At first, I only used it outside my apartment building, reasoning that my home environment was familiar and predictable. I avoid hilly or unpaved terrain. No more hiking.

I had guilt feelings when I hired a housekeeper. Maybe I’m just lazy I scolded myself. But I couldn’t do the reaching and bending necessary to clean the bathtub and vacuum. Sandy now comes once a month and I love the clean, fresh scent she leaves behind.

Who am I to use valet parking and a wheel chair when I see others, worse off than me, going in for their medical appointments. The specialty clinics I need to visit require elevator rides and trekking far into the long corridors of the hospital. My niece is adamant that she can and wants to take me there and is proud of her wheel chair transport skills.

Since I no longer can drive at night, I’m dependent on friends to pick me up on those rare occasions when we plan a night-time get together. Last time, it felt so strange even to be in a car after dark. I’m wistfully recalling when I never gave it a thought.

My most recent accommodation is home grocery delivery. It’s done on-line, paid by credit card and delivery is in a three-hour time frame on the day I pick. They even keep a history of past orders so it’s easy to compile future lists. It’s a lovely miracle when that polite young man shows up at my door with these nicely sorted bags and boxes.

With all these adjustments, my life has changed drastically. I often ask myself if I’m winning or losing this battle. I’ve decided I’m winning. Of course, there are some things I’ll never do again. But I now have more time and energy to do the interesting and fun things that make it all worthwhile.

And if accepting a little help is all it takes, I’m okay with that. What I always thought was a big deal seems to make no difference to anyone else but me. I have plenty of offers to help and often say thanks but no thanks. But I’m always pleased when someone makes the gesture. There sure are a lot of nice people in the world.

I’ll never be one of those a cranky old ladies who refuses to accept help then has a fall and needs a higher level of care. Thinking carefully and planning ahead is the way to go. I’m happy resting in this comfortable spot, nestled  between being independent and dependent.

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