Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"Everyday's A Good Day..." The Poignant Words of My Dying Mother, Who Has Become A Heroine To Us All...

If you click the above quote, it will take you
a beautiful page of e-cards by the magical
writer, Paul Coelho...

There has been a beautiful song running through my days, of late, and they are the words of my mother, who, three years ago, was given a very short time to live. I believe she has lived this long because of her amazing positive attitude, and faith, and the entire family and all who know her have been incredibly inspired by her. No matter how much pain she's been in, how sick, going through blood transfusions, hospitalizations and more, whenever I call to check on her the first words she says are, "Everyday's a good day."

Now, one knows that the reality of her situation has been grim at best, and it has been three years of terrible struggle with every kind of drug imaginable, experimental treatments, even Chinese medicine, but now, she is coming into her final times, and yet, if you called her today, she would tell you that every day is a good day, and she reminds me that that is the way I should approach life. And I am trying Mom, I'm really, really trying.

Take yesterday for example. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a hard time leaving my house. I do go a couple of times a week to babysit my 3 year old grandson whom I adore while my daughter is working on her Masters degree. I have to go there because he is allergic to my animals. I can go there because it's close, and Rachel's home is very homey and safe to me. I usually do whatever needs to be done on the way home, as quickly as possible, like grocery shopping, picking up meds, and so on. Yesterday was a different kind of day, following a peculiar series of events in the last few weeks.

Yesterday I had to go to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned and then straight to babysit. Now, I am not and have never been afraid to go to the dentist but it's that going out thing again. Well, I went and I babysat and all went well, until...

I have to back up here to tell you about the peculiar string of events that have happened since just before Christmas. I have longsince been called everything from a klutz, to, and more frequently, "The Absent Minded Professor." My mind is always zooming along and my body seems to have been bumping along on the ground behind me. I have broken bones, sprained things, and am always an array of different colors from having tripped over thin air and konked myself somehow. I lead a fascinatingly peculiar life. This time it started the Saturday before Christmas.

Now, it must be said that my feet are lopsided and cattywompus and most of you who have followed my writing for some time have heard of my ridiculous travails with my feet. You wouldn't know I was a dance minor in college and had had 15 years of ballet and tap, and in college Modern Dance, Jazz, etc. It's amazing I didn't kill myself or give someone a concussion with those feet. But my dainty feet days and slim body went by the wayside some time ago and in the late 90's I developed a tumor in my foot, had surgery, after a year of the doctor trying to avoid it, that cut everything to the bone in the arch of my foot, leading me to a year of sometimes hilarious and mostly not so hilarious debacles as I went from wheel chair, to crutches (I fell and broke the same foot that was healing the first day on crutches. My doctor nearly killed me!), and finally, able to walk unaided, one year later, and lurching about at odd angles because my foot was just never going to be right again, I just shrugged and got used to it. Bell's Palsy left me with a wonky face, the wonky foot fit right in. Except...

Well, you see, the scar tissue goes up around the inside of my ankle, the result being that my ankle will collapse and I will take very odd falls as if for no reason at all. Trust me, I am extremely grateful when no one sees them. I'm a Circus Show all by myself. But then came the day, December 2004, just before Christmas, that, coming down my staircase the ankle went and I flew down the stairs with not so much the greatest of ease, landing absolutely on my tippy toes as if I were still in toe shoes, and then fell over on top of my feet. I heard a bone crack, and I was seeing stars, and I was in the worst pain I'd ever felt, and I was home, alone, at 11:00 at night, with the phone what seemed like ten miles away. I screamed. I cried, and then I drug myself down the hall and made it to the phone and called for help. My dear ex-husband to whom I am still really close said, "DON'T MOVE, I'll be right there."

How he got me in the car I will never know, but when the doctor in the emergency room looked at the x-rays he said, "You didn't just break both feet, you shattered them." 6 months in 2 casts, walkers, all the rest, and another year before I could walk unaided. I believe I have bad foot karma. I ended up with a dandy handicapped placard that I am embarrassed to use, and feet that are cattywompus for life.

Ok, so now I go along walking carefully and do pretty well. I'm never going to walk in straight lines, I limp a little, but I'm used to it. It's just that the ankle still will just give in now and again, and I cling to the stair railing when I go up and down as if to life itself, which brings us to the present...

It was the Saturday before Christmas, as I said, and I was outside at about 11 pm. I am used to walking four dogs and we walk quite well together. Unfortunately, that night, heading straight toward us, was a big black hairy dog the size of an 18 wheeler (...well, it looked that way as he came barreling straight at us!). His poor owner, some distance back, was running as fast as he could yelling, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm sorry," and the thing is it was just a big goofy friendly dog who got excited and wanted to play, however, when you are walking four dogs in the dark of night with Frankenstein feet that wobble about and the four dogs all of a sudden go berserk, it is not a particularly good situation. I clung to those leashes for dear life and planted my feet as firmly in the ground as if I were a tree, which in the long run did not prove the best possible solution. I mean, my dogs didn't get away, the poor man chasing his dog finally caught him and was still saying how sorry he was until he was out of earshot (He may still be saying it today but as I don't know him personally I'm not really sure.), but my poor feet, sunk deep in the ground, as the dogs all went running around me in a circular fashion, twirled me like a swizzle stick with my feet firmly in place, which means that I twisted myself rather badly from the ankles up to my lower back, spraining one foot, twisting the other badly, hurting my lower back and down into my hip, and found myself yelling "SH-T," a lot as I limped pitifully home. The dogs romped merrily as if nothing had happened, and I sunk into a chair, took ibuprofen and put the heating pad on my back, and wondered if I would ever move again. Finally ankles wrapped and my ridiculous self put back together as well as possible, I smiled all through Christmas week (Why ruin anyone's Christmas, it only worries everyone and to what end?) and tried to act as if a steam engine hadn't rolled over me.

But now I was on a roll. The next week I was doing something or other and I have no idea how it happened but I slammed my left wrist and sprained it. Now IT is bandaged up and hurts like the dickens just as other areas are starting to feel better. That was until yesterday.

Yesterday, coming out of my daughter's after babysitting with my sprained wrist and still healing back-through-ankles, I tripped over an old paving stone in front of their darling little 1939 bungalow and fell, well, pretty much flat on my face. It was not a graceful nor especially pretty fall. I suppose I shrieked (I think I was too busy thinking "SH-T!!!" again to remember...) and my daughter came running out of the house yelling, "Oh my GOD, MOM, are you alright???" to which I replied, "Of course I am, just a little tumble." I wobbled up off of the ground with her helping me, and smiled real big and said, "Don't worry honey, I'm just fine. Go back in to the baby." I waited until she was safely inside and then kind of drug myself limping to the car like Igor, Dr. Frankenshtein's sidekick. As I sat there with my wrist shouting something at me like, "I sure didn't need THAT!" and with the rest of my already banged and bruised parts having their say, which I'm far too polite to repeat, I sat there behind the steering wheel trying to steady myself, and then I drove myself home.

Luckily, I wasn't too much the worse for the wear. I ached and I was tired, and I wanted to cry. And as soon as I opened the front door the four dogs came bounding at me all whimpering, barking, screeching and then the parrots joined in and I laughed. You're right Mom, Everyday IS a good day. I limped across the room and got their leashes and we went out for a SLOW walk. They were on their best behavior, (Dogs KNOW, you know...) and I looked up at the sky and said, "Thank you." because nothing else got broken or sprained (...except my ego!) and it was a beautiful day, if crisp and cold, and I felt just enormously happy walking my little family of furry beasts, tails wagging, little faces looking up at me, and when we came in they got a treat, and Henry the parrot came out and sat on my shoulder looking at me warily, kind of like, "What in the WORLD did you do THIS time?" (Birds know too...) and I told him I'd just had a little tumble but was fine. If I felt like I was 103 at that moment it didn't matter, because I would be just fine, and I was in a room full of birds chirping, singing, and talking, dogs cuddling near, having a lovely chat with a friend who called, and after a hot shower and whatnot was moving pretty well (You know, at snail speed, which is good enough for me anyway...).

That was yesterday. Today is a new day. If I'm a little sore it doesn't matter. The cold air outside is crisp and makes one feel lively. The dogs are just in from a walk and tearing around the house being funny, tossing their beds and toys and rolling on the ground, being goofy, and Babs, the tiny black pug, was barking her head off, which she is wont to do when she gets excited to which Henry, the grey parrot, said, "Babs, Babs, you're alright, whatsa matter, you need to go out???" (And yes, he said all that and talks so much people are shocked. Grey parrots are astounding birds. He calls all the dogs and other birds by name and talks to them, things he's heard me say, and more!)

And so as I start another day, I think, with my mother, that "Every day is a good day," and with Coelho, that there are miracles and magic moments and new stars being created if only we have eyes to see, and live with our hearts open, and always, always, know that every day is a good day, despite what may have happened, despite death knocking at the door, despite weather patterns and illness, and things just seemingly not going our way (that's a whole 'nother post!) I am doing just dandy, and I am happy, joyful even, and right now my big black boy dog and my little fawn boy dog are beside me offering up their noses for kisses, and I can't imagine a more wonderful life.

Blessings to each and every one of you, and remember what my mom says. She's right...




Chris O'Byrne said...

Oh, Maitri, what a wonderful, crazy, painful story! And you know what it did? It made me want to adopt a rescue pug! I'm checking the New Mexico Pug Rescue, but they don't have any. :(

Thank you for sharing this with us!

Lynda Lehmann said...

What a beautiful and inspiring post, Maitri! Thanks for sharing your miss-steps and foot debacles, and I sure hope you don't have anymore!

But all things considered, you and your mom are right. Every day is a good day! Blessings and healthy feet and ankles to ya...and warm, affectionate doggies to kiss!

zquilts said...

Oh Maitri! What a great post ! You are amazing ! Blessing to you.

de_kerinchi said...

A beautiful place here!
Excellent post! Thank you.
have a good day....


Anonymous said...

HI! Just found your Blog and it such an inspiration! Thank you and blessings to you!!! :-)

ImaNicePerson said...

You're such a great writer. I truly enjoy your stories. Keep doing what you do and keep reminding yourself that Every day is a good day. :)

Post a Comment