Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I've been counting down since January, although I realized recently that I don't know what I'm counting down to.

When I left the hospital, someone said "In a year you won't even know this happened to you."  He or she -I remember the words, not the speaker- was referring to my physical condition, not my emotional response, but it doesn't matter.

The reality is that, as the anniversary of January 8th inches closer, I am more and more focused on thinking about what happened to me. 

The Happy Ladies Club has been hiking together for months now, without me.  The paths will be there when I am ready, I know, but I'm feeling the loss as the weather turns cooler and my polar fleece vest stares at me from the closet.  There's no need for it down here, but up on the mountain it comes in quite handy.  Were it animate, it would have grabbed my hand and asked why it was still relegated to the closet. 

The answer is simple - walking is hard work. 

I'm more limber and I'm stronger, but endurance was never my long suit and it's certainly not any more palatable these days. I am more capable, both in pilates and in the kitchen.  I can carry a heavy skillet from the oven to the cooktop with two hands, pivoting on my right leg.  I couldn't do that in August, the last time I made that meal.  I am making progress, but I still know this happened to me.

I was driving to Office Max on Saturday, NPR droning in the background, the sun shining and traffic moving well when it became clear to me that I had been shot.  I don't know what set me off, what made me say it out loud, but I found myself announcing, to no one, "I was shot.  Bullets went through me."  I could feel them ripping through my body. 

It was very odd, denizens.  Very odd indeed.  I have no memory of that actually happening to me, yet there I was, going 35 miles an hour and contemplating the confluence of weaponry and me.  It wasn't scary, just very real and very odd. 

As I move further away from the event, it seems to become closer and more immediate.  Connections between those of us who were there that morning have deepened; our hugs are longer and more intense.  The media frenzy over Gabby's book, the approaching anniversary and atttendant activities, the popping and clicking as I stand more upright and move my femur more freely, they combine to remind me.  Over and over again, they remind me.

This is not a bad thing.  It's important to keep certain memories close to my heart, sharp and clear and present. 

Christina-Taylor will always be inextricably intertwined with my Thanksgiving memories.  Donning my turkey apron, selecting serving pieces as G'ma supervises, filling the glasses with ice and water.... she will be in the kitchen on Thursday, albeit only in our hearts.  She will never be forgotten; I'll just have to imagine her growing older. 

My hip will creak and I'll scowl and groan and then I'll notice that I've carried all the heavy grocery bags out of the trunk and into the kitchen.  I wasn't doing that last month.  I didn't even try.  The lumbering gait I've adopted is better than dragging my stiff limb along with me as I locomote.... it's not walking yet but it's a closer approximation to the real thing. 

Perhaps I am putting things in perspective.  I always giggle at that phrase, wondering where perpective might be, and if it has a door I can close to contain whatever is going behind it.  I think perspective changes over time.  What was cannot be what is. I cannot stay in that dark place.  I cannot wallow in the loss and the pain and the waste. Yet, I don't want to lose those thoughts, those feelings, those important details that make up the whole.

Perhaps this is why things feel more immediate.  As they gather themselves into a bundle, preparing to occupy a lower shelf in my memory bank, perhaps I am revisiting them once again, just to be sure that I am wrapping them up safely.  Perhaps I ought to welcome the pinches of my heart and the incessant references to Gabby and Mark and the shooting.  His book tour touches down in Tucson next week.  Perhaps I'll attend. 

Perhaps is a good place for me right now.  My reality is uncertain, my past surreal, my future taking a turn off the path I'd imagined.  But I am here to tell the tale. 

Perhaps.  That may be all I am capable of right now.


  1. Perhaps---what a great philosopy. I just want you to know that I love reading your posts. I discovered you through BlogHer. I was in a car accident two years ago--broken bones, rehab, therapy, clicks and limitations--and reading about your journey helps to validate my own journey and feelings. Thanks for sharing the 'realness' the way that you do.

  2. AB, I love this post. It's full of hope. You are not on the path you wanted to be on, but think about how blessed you were to have Christina-Taylor in your life. I have been thinking about you and Thanksgiving for the past few days...I had read your post from last year about how wonderful it was to have the Crayola's over for Thanksgiving.

    Maybe the car affirmation of the bullets is your way of coming to grips with what happened? Maybe deep down you have been trying to not relive it and as the anniversary approaches, you are having to do just that. I hate anniversaries like this. Anniversaries should be happy and a celebration; not something so sad and utterly heartbreaking.

    I will be away for Thanksgiving, but you are in my thoughts and prayers. I know it will be difficult for you and everyone in your family. Remember the happy times.

    Sending a huge hug.

    Megan xxx

  3. None of the rest of us will ever put it behind us either and we have less physical reasons for that. It is part of our culture now and one we might wish we didn't have but it's there as a scary reality that we didn't stop then, and worse, we haven't put in place measure likely to stop it now. We saw once again that there are things, like about mental illness in our society, that we could have applied and we haven't-- not yet anyway. If a culture felt they learned from it, it might make it more tolerable but what would be learned from this-- to avoid civic events because of the mentally deranged? Physically I hope you will find a day when it's really all behind you but it's obvious that emotionally it never will be. How could it...

  4. Bullets have never gone through me. But every once in a rare while, when I move to get up off the sofa, something about the configuration of furniture and skeleton and gravitation and geometry conspires to bring on a flailing spell. I sort of lunge forward off the cushion, fall back and to one side, and push off with one hand, counting on momentum to bring me upright. (So far, it's worked.)

    When this happens, I think to myself: I'm so glad I was on the sofa when that happened. If I'd been in the side chair, or the rocker, or just getting up off the floor after a Pooch play session, my flailing would've taken down a lamp, one or two beverages, candles, TV remote, gods know what else. But the sofa is of generous proportion, with lots of room for error.

    Perhaps offers lots of room for error, too. It's a good place to stand up in. Perhaps is your friend.

  5. Keep in mind that the "perhaps" state of being/thinking/feeling is still progress, and perhaps also a huge leap forward! xo

  6. It would appear that I'm going to have to read the archives to find you life story...this was a beautiful post.


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