Got some shitty news today. A friend passed away this morning. He was just in our home a month ago, building the parallel bars in our hallway, selflessly giving his time and talent to help us out. I wonder if I thanked him properly, and if he felt how truly appreciative I am for his help. What a great guy! I’m very sorry and sad to know that he’s gone. After all that Nick and I have been through, this is another sobering reminder that you’ve just got to “get busy living.”
Even though “rest in peace” is so cliche, I sincerely hope that his spirit has now found peace.
First time stepping up onto something. He was doing drills focusing on the movement and placement of his foot, trying to avoid hitting his toe on the way up. This really wore him out; it was intense on his upper body. They also practiced the “Look Ma, No Hands” trick. He’s beginning to work on his balance without use of the bars. It’s official, the real work has begun!
This morning we dropped off four huge bags of non-perishable food items for Food for Life. A big thank you to Jen Nootbaar for donating tons of items to help hungry families. We’ve been so blessed with the kindness and generosity of others, we felt this was a small, simple thing to do to give back. We all have a few items in our kitchens that have been gathering dust for too long, uneaten for whatever reason. Why not give that perfectly good food to people who need it? We don’t have much to give now, but just doing that little bit really felt good. It felt like a small step toward “giving back”, a natural response after all that’s been given to us. We’ll probably be working our entire lifetimes in order to get even with what’s been donated to us. That’s okay. We’ll start now and move slow.
Nick was pretty sore today after being up for so long yesterday, so he decided to make it a football watching day, parked on the couch. At each quarters’ end he got up to practice walking. But toward the end of the day, Nick was itching to get his blood really flowing. He wanted to go to the gym on his own if he could physically load and unload his own wheelchair into the car. Of course! That’s a fabulous idea. What’s particularly exceptional about this, is that the idea came from within him. His drive to, well, drive, and be independent is breathtaking. He wants his life back so bad.
I helped get him ready to go, and he loaded up the car and took off. He sat in the drivers seat and leaned over to break down the wheelchair, lifting each piece across his chest into the back seat. The intense pride I felt watching him back down the driveway, on his own, was so rewarding. He’s going to make it in this big, cruel world after all. I never doubted it, but it just seemed so far away. Until now. This doesn’t make him completely independent yet, but pretty close. It’s clear now that the sheer strength and flexibility required of him to bend and twist and lift to get his chair in the car is something he’s only just developed since starting with his trainer at the gym. There’s no way he could have done that a month ago. His torso was too weak. Not anymore though. We are brimming over with excitement at what’s to come. I couldn’t imagine being any more pleased with how life is going right now.
I’ve never seen Nick so sweaty as he was today working with his trainer. He was drenched! They don’t stop for the entire hour, and he’s really stepping it up now. Sometimes I wonder what the people at the gym think about when they see Nick there in his wheelchair with two prosthetic legs. I hope they say to themselves, “Well if he’s here every day, then I should be too. I have no excuse!” Watching him work hard and grow stronger motivates me, I can’t imagine it not motivating the people who see him at the gym.
No swimming today in lieu of going to the dropzone to visit friends. What a gorgeous day! We got there late and stayed quite a while after dark. We loved watching all the canopies land from the sunset load; the prettiest time of day to jump. Afterward we had dinner with some friends. It’s been a relaxing holiday weekend with minimal stress or “work”, just as it should be. For tomorrow, we were thinking about going to Fontana raceway to see our buddy Bart ride the track on his motorcycle. But since our friend Al isn’t going now, we probably won’t either. Might just relax at home instead.
Feels so good to stand with his arm around me. But I swear he feels taller than before!
We took the opportunity this “Black Friday” to sleep in and move slow. These days we don’t get to sleep late because of his daily appointments. I’ve been exhausted, so this was nice. A little lunch with friends, separately, and then off he went to go swimming. We had a quiet, peaceful night at home and a restful nights sleep. Time to bring on the weekend!