Monday, August 15, 2011

For Mary

I've had three children, all of which were high risk pregnancies. Because of this, my Doctor ordered strict bed rest from seventeen weeks on. Her goal was to get me to at least 36 weeks gestation.  No physical activity of any kind was allowed, except for the required weekly Doctor's visit.

The highlight of my pregnant life was when I'd finally get to leave my house, once a week, for the drive to my Doctor's office. With my husband at the wheel, I'd roll down the car window, even though it was December, and breathe in the fresh outdoor air till my lungs couldn't hold any more.

As I spent month after pregnant month, laying on the sofa on my left side, I promised myself I would never take physical movement and health for granted.  I knew I'd never complain again about having things to do, because I'd be so grateful that I'd be physically capable of it.

Friends and family would stop by during this time, and visitors would joke, "I wish I had orders to just lay around!" I'd give them a half smile, not wanting to use any energy to explain how very difficult it is to just lay. To be at everyone's mercy for anything you need done. There would be no way possible, to explain in words, how it felt as if the world were passing you by, while you lay - forgotten - and no longer contributing to it.

I think of all my husband had to do while I was on bed rest. Besides the physical duties that fell to him, he also had to become my live-in psychologist. He'd cheer me on, reminding me I was doing that which only could be done by me.

I'd try to listen, and would hope to feel differently; but the loss of mobility is one that messes with your mind.

My bed rest days are long behind me now, but the sting of dependency occupies a permanent corner in my psyche. I will never take my working body for granted.

I give thanks for my hands that were able to clean and caress my babies when they were little, my legs that now carry me outside for a walk in the sunrise, my arms that are strong enough to lift a fallen child, my body that can dance in joyful celebration with a friend.

Today, as I move about my morning, running up and down the stairs carrying laundry with nothing to stop me, washing my floors with the energy that comes with the gratefulness of being able to move, I am more than humbled at my good fortune and health.

What makes my appreciation even deeper is the memory of the time that I prayed for a return to just the mundane.

I will never take the daily for granted. And I am deeply appreciative of it.

This past Saturday morning, my friend's sister, Mary, was hit from the front by a car that never saw her. She was out for her daily 9:30 a.m. walk. Mary has multiple fractures of both arms. She won't be able to use either of her arms for two or more months. 

I'm sure she can't wait to get back to what her life was, one that she may have not thought of before: that of being able to do whatever it is she needs to.

Mary, I am sending love and good thoughts your way. I know that your bones will heal. I also know that when you're back to being able to care for yourself, and your family, that you'll see your wonderfully able body in a thankful light.

In the same way that I've come to see mine.

Get well soon, M.

54 comments:

  1. My thoughts are with your friend Mary.

    Thank you for the reminder to be grateful for something we don't really think about.

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  2. First, I too am sending healing thoughts Mary's way.

    Second? Beautiful, beautiful post, my friend. so much feeling here. So much spirit. Thank you for the gift of this tale.

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  3. I'm sending prayers for Mary, for healing, and for peace and joy in her heart to make it through this difficult time.

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  4. my prayers goes to Mary. Thanks for sharing this to us as a reminder to be grateful for the blessings that each day has to give.

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  5. That is a beautiful and poignant reminder Empress. Thank you and am sending healing thoughts and energy to your Mary.

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  6. Prayers for quick healing, Mary!! What an impressive reminder to be thankful, Empress!

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  7. Heal Mary, Heal! Sending butterfly wings of bone-knitting, mind-saving thoughts your way.

    The only thing that kept me going this winter/spring/into summer was knowing the bones would heal and this too would pass. The appreciation and gratitude I feel to be back on my feet, will not.

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  8. i know that your story is of great encouragements, hope she heals up soon...

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  9. I think about this every day. Not because of personal experience. But because of the stories you hear (and sometimes witness firsthand) of how simple freedom of movement is taken away by tragedy or illnesss. My friend Heidi Cave (whom I met through her blog Fancy Feet) lost both legs below the knee in a terrible car accident. To read her beautiful posts about fighting for the ability to walk again - to be the active, independent woman (and mother) she is today...well it puts my complaints about stocky calves into some serious perspective. Whenever I catch myself taking my strong, healthy body for granted - or worse, complain about it - I try to give myself a reality check and get over it. Fast.

    I hope your friend's recovery time passes quickly!

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  10. Sending positive thoughts and prayers to Mary during this time of her recovery.
    Your Friend, m.

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  11. We really do take a lof of things for granted. Thanks for the reminder to be thankful for the simple, sometimes mundane things.

    I hope Mary has a quick recovery.

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  12. This is a beautiful post. Great well soon Mary!

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  13. Thoughts and prayers go out to Mary... I wish her a speedy recovery.

    I recently wrote about a car accident I was involved in when I was very young... Sometimes it's not only the physical scars that do the most damage, and I wish her all the strength in the world to make a full recovery. XOXO

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  14. Hoping and praying for a speedy recovery for Mary. And there you go again making me think and being all appreciative of life and what not. You have a way with doing that you know.

    xoxo
    SS

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  15. Well, my lovely new friend...:) Since we're new at this, you wouldn't know my history, which unfolded on Blogger. Just over 2 yrs ago, I wrote a post saying I was off to NZ to visit friends, and how I'd see everyone online there...and on the way to the airport my husband and I had a head on collision with a truck. Well, that changed my life, nearly killed us both, we were in hospital, ICU, for a couple of weeks, and the recovery process was and is still....well...."recover" isn't a word I ever use actually: you don't recover. You change.

    It's here if you want to read it: http://www.brajas.com/2009/04/so-what-happened.html

    Before that, you might see a couple of posts, one of me saying goodbye, and that got 265 comments or something, when my friend announced in the comments section that we had been in an accident and we might not make it....

    So yeah, I know firsthand what it's like to be conscious of those things we take for granted...when you can't do it anymore, life has a different script. It's only been 2 months that I have walked without a limp, without pain....you really do consider the small details in a situation like that....

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  16. Thoughts and prayers for Mary! I, too, was on bedrest with my first, and it's something that people who haven't been there cannot really understand.

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  17. What a tender post. My thoughts and prayers are with your friend. Thank you for reminder about how our health and our mobility, the seemingly simple things, should never be taken for granted.

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  18. Thank you for this, heartfelt, inspiring me to thankfulness. My prayers are with Mary.

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  19. Wow! I am so sorry to hear about your friend.

    I am in physical therapy for some ailments that I acquired during pregnancy and caring for small children. It is a horrible, horrible feeling to be told you can't do something. I willbe keeping Mary in my thoughts.

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  20. I hope Mary's healing is fast! Must be so frustrating. And scary! My goodness. What a beautiful post for her.

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  21. A lovely tribute for her to read while she recuperates. Life can be so very scary and sudden sometimes. Much love to her and hers (and you and yours).

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  22. Well said and an important reminder. Hugs and prayers for Mary.

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  23. Just spoke to Carol, Mary's sister.

    Mary is in pain, but relieved it's short term recup. 2 mos most..and back to what is NOT normal.

    Carol tells me Mary never thought about the gift of independence before.

    Life can change in a minute.

    Thank you all for your wishes to her. I've let her know, and she is so touched.

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  24. How quickly we can realize what we have is there to lose. Thinking of Mary.

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  25. Wishing Mary an easy, full and complete recovery.
    jj

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  26. That is terrible! I hope she heals and recovers quickly and without too much pain...
    Have yourself a good week!

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  27. Great reminder ... best wishes and positive thoughts for Mary.

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  28. What a poignant and important reminder. I hope Mary's recovery is swift...will keep her in my thoughts.

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  29. Very powerful peace. I too "enjoyed" bedrest with my twins. It was hard, but I knew I would be fine. I wanted those babies so badly I would have done anything. Being hit whilst enjoying a morning walk and then healing for 2 months (plus physical therapy, I imagine) is unfathomable to me. God bless Mary! I hope her body heals quickly.

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  30. Best wishes to Mary for a swift recovery.

    I would never envy anyone on bedrest. Admire them, yes. Envy them, no.

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  31. OMG how horrible, I am so sorry to hear that. Sending lots of prayers her way!

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  32. Much love and many prayers to Mary.

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  33. I feel every word...

    I am as of today on bedrest for a week. Injured my knee, and I have to lie here on the couch for a week with my leg halfway to the ceiling. It's been only 12 hours, and I want to do something!

    Fred wants me to do something too...like clean off the kitchen desk, organize the organizer, go to the grocery store, etc. Sure, honey, I'll do that WHILE I'M LYING HERE ON THE COUCH.

    idiot.

    Sending pixie dust for Mary. It's a day for bad news in my blogworld...death of a father-in-law, death of a mother, three severe injuries and illnesses, and even the death of one of my favorite bloggers, reported by her daughter.

    Yes, we take so much for granted.

    I love this old lumpy couch.

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  34. Thoughts and prayers for Mary! We tend to take things for granted until we are given a chance to see what life would be like without them.

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  35. But she's alive! But she's alive!

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  36. My sister was recetnly injured in a boating accident, not at all as severe as Mary but still on the mend for quite some time. She struggles with not being able to do what she was used to. It makes me very grateful for my able body.

    A prayer for Mary.

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  37. Love to Mary. You're so right. There's a special type of pain involved with not being able to get up and do what you want to do -- seeing it there in front of you. And it sounds like you and I have pretty incredible husbands.

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  38. I'm so glad she's okay! And I'm glad you are there to be her cheerleader now.

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  39. Thinking of you and Mary. She is lucky to have you.

    Also? I love the new look. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to say so.

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  40. Oh, poor Mary! I'm glad she wasn't hurt any worse than that and that she heals quickly and well.

    You know, it's funny you should write about this. I've been giving a lot of thought to the idea of bedrest lately. Was told 2 weeks ago that I'd probably only have high-risk pregnancies. Not exactly what I expected to hear. So I'll probably have that in my future. Yikes!

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  41. I'm so glad her dependency is temporary! That accident could have been so much worse...

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  42. thinking of your friend and hearing the lesson you are speaking...

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  43. Sending thoughts and prayers out to Mary!

    I think being confined to bed would be immensely difficult. I cannot imagine... What a sacrifice you made for your babies (worth every minute, of course, but still!). I would like to be on bed rest for 8 hours every day, but that's it. ;-)

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  44. PS - If I haven't already said so, I love the new look around here!

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  45. Sweetie, sending so many good thoughts for your friend.

    I love the way that you took the personal, and made it a universal reminder of the heart.

    You do that seamlessly.

    XO

    {Also? FAB new digs!}

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  46. Prayers and good thoughts to Mary. Also, thankful she has a friend like you that understands and can help her on her journey. My stepdad had Polio and was in a steel leg brace most of his life. I know he would agree with you on many taking mobility for granted.

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  47. Thanks for this. I send healing thoughts to your sister's friend.

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  48. Hello my Liege -- My first thought when you said your friend's sister was hit by a car from the front was that she could not have possibly survived. Thank God for broken bones and I will send my best wishes for her speedy recovery to the universe.

    On a more whiny note. I was on bed rest with my first daughter as apparently my placenta had decided to sit the last few weeks out. As I lay on my left side watching ubiquitous episodes of "A Baby Story" I heard suspicious rattling from the kitchen. My husband had chosen my weakest moment to reorganize my kitchen! I still miss my zebra salad tongs. Fortunately 99 percent of the time he's not a crockery chucking bastard.

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  49. You don't strike me as one to take anything for granted--and this is such a sweet dedication.

    Late congrats again for you tremendous BlogHer success. Moldy cups in your absence notwithstanding :)

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  50. I have always said that only those who have been on bed rest, understand.

    I have had a few debilitating health scares in my lifetime, the worst, a blood clot, and I vowed I would never take my health for granted again. To me, every healthy day is a day for rejoicing.

    Wishing your friend good wishes for health and a speedy recovery.

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  51. As I read the end I was so thankful that she only suffered 2 broken arms, though I know that it will make things hard for her. I wish her a speedy recovery.

    I was on bedrest with the twins and mild bedrest with the third (while trying to care for 2 not even 2 year olds), and I could not WAIT to get my body back, to be able to get down on the floor to change a diaper and get back up again without a struggle. To now have to worry about high blood pressure. To be ME again.

    Thinking of your friend. :)

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