Somewhere in a drizzly February I forgot how to jump. It was one of those rainy half-snow days, my son was here to take me to my endless doctor appointments. “Mom,” he pleaded. “You KNOW how to get in my van!” I did know. But it looked differently. The handle to hang onto I thought was in the front, then I fumbled on the side. 3 steps? I thought there were two. I lift my foot on the first step and find myself facing – what would be – the ass-end of the horse. I place my second foot and I’m facing forward. Third foot positions me backwards, facing the 2nd seats. I see my son’s face, incredulous, thinking I must be joking. And so I shift my beginning steps into the truck, holding the handle over the door, pushing off with my cane. Once my body is in motion, I try to find a way to shove myself into the seat, skipping the other 2 steps, hanging on to the handle for dear life and punching the ground with my cane to give me an edge, the edge I need to get me into the seat.
“Mom!?” was his reply.
A few months before I asked if he would go with me into our Meijer’s Thrifty Acres (a mega store). “I need a phone,” I said. “Mom, you used to buy all our equipment for our department, why do you need ME to help you buy a stupid PHONE??!!” I wept. I don’t know, I said. But I do. “Why can’t you do these things for yourself?!” “I don’t know!,” I sobbed. “But I can’t.” I just can’t. I still cannot.
We bought the phone system. He brought me home. Installed it. And we parted, both as puzzled as we could be by my actions.
I still try to jump. I tell myself, I will myself to jump. To hop. To skip. Regardless of the command my brain just says, “What?”. I can’t lift both feet at the same time. I can’t will my feet to alternate, or play hop scotch. Or jump rope.
They say when a part of your brain dies, it is compensated for. Not so far. Not so far.
Papa, it’s just me. Vicki. Where am I going?
Where are you going? Straight into all of our hearts!
I love you, my Freda!