It has been an emotional day. It started with a beautiful dawn, moving swiftly on to a bright and sunny autumn day… a memorable day for many reasons, both past and present. Well no, to be fair it had started a fair bit before dawn with me scribbling away in the dark again trying to capture the stuff of dreams, quite literally… but we can gloss over that.
Unable to sleep I had been up long before dawn and what else do you do once the dog has been walked and fed but switch on the computer and work… I was still there when my son phoned with his orders for the day.
Not that I was reluctant to go down there, of course, not today, with the new wheelchair arriving.
We talked as we waited, looking at just how impossibly far Nick has come since 2009 and how many unrealistic goals he has not only achieved but surpassed. There was a time, in rehab, not long after the attack, when an electric wheelchair was his only possibility for any kind of movement. As soon as he came home that was taken away from him… the system here does not provide electric wheelchairs unless you can prove you can use them inside and out of the house. My home being designed with corridors impossible to manoeuvre something so bulky he was refused the funding for one. And given that they cost more than I own in this world, there wasn’t much we could do about it back then
But that was okay. An electric wheelchair meant defeat in his eyes… giving up, admitting he would never walk again.
Nick’s focus was squarely on recovery. Ten, twelve, fourteen hours a day …every day…he pushed and pushed himself to regain movement, control, speech and balance. I can’t explain the sheer force of will and herculean effort he poured into it… almost obsessively. You’d have to read his story when we finish writing it to get any idea at all…unless you’ve been there, and many have faced this kind of uphill battle towards unrealistic goals.
Over the past four years, little by little he has regained far more than was ever predicted as any kind of possibility. The ‘major’ triumphs have sometimes been so small to outward appearances that most would not have even noticed them, yet to us they have represented breakthroughs of extreme proportions, knowing as we do where he had started and what effort has been involved in every single one.
But since meeting his wife(and writing that still makes me smile) Nick’s outlook has changed. He has ceased to see physical recovery as the be all and end all of his life and realised that recovery means living .. and that means more than walking.
As he said today, once upon a time he could walk, run, do all the things he has fought to regain… but was he really happy? Did he appreciate life? And if he spends all his time, energy on focus on physical recovery, he might manage to walk a little way… but could also be run over by the proverbial bus the same day… which would be a hell of a wasted opportunity for someone who now relishes each day.
He showed me a clip of a documentary about Stephen Hawking… and there may have been tears as he reminded me of what he had written for the blog a while back… and here was a guy who faced an even bigger pit of despair than Nick and yet still laughed. We laugh a lot.
We retired to his garden to wait for the delivery and I pottered with the camera… till Faith decided I was on the wrong end of it.
So today I watched my son drive away in an electric wheelchair, taking himself out with his wife. He wasn’t just going into town… he was starting a new phase of possibility and, in typical fashion, the hobbit stood and attempted to watch through eyes that couldn’t see much for some reason.
He has that effect a lot.