Learning through my Dad
I have spent a great deal of time in my own thoughts these last few weeks. I have written many pages in my head that just haven't reached the paper. The words flow and the cadence is easy, but at 3:00 a.m., who wants to put pen to paper. And so they are lost, those wonderful Pulitzer moments.
Sleep has been difficult and the pain has been plentiful although it is such a growing experience; an eye opener into self, thought and prayer. I dread the pain, I am truly afraid of its return, but it always comes back, just like my early morning clarity of thought.
A common theme is, "Where did I go?" If I honestly look at myself I sometimes don't recognize me. My face is getting round with the steroids and sometimes becomes prickly red. My skin gets yellow from infusions and occasionally chalky white from reasons I do not know. My chest has a protrusion where my port sticks out and I can see the tube that leads up into my jugular vein. At times my joints are locked up to where I cannot move and the swelling in my leg makes it twice as big as the other. I often walk with a cane now and I have a handicap placard. Where did I go?
This journey has been a constant daily battle between not looking back and comparing who I will never be to what I have become now. I can no longer compare me to me. I may never dance again. I may never again ride a horse or stroll on the greenbelt. And while that is devastating, I have found a part of me that I didn't know I had. I have grit and toughness. I have good character and I am kind. I can smile and cry at the same time and I can see beauty through the storm. I am not angry and most of the time I am not sad. I am comforted with my faith and secure in who I am. I actually like who I have become.
I gave a speech yesterday in regard to my Dad who passed away 8 months ago. The State of Idaho honored him with a Proclamation declaring February 21, 2017 as the Fred Riggers Disability Awareness Day. In that speech I talked about my Dad as a good dad, one that provided and worked hard for his family. I told stories of how he evolved with his disability and became a great man for it. How he helped others by being present for them and reaching out to them. He was well known in the community as a giver of his time in personal relationships with others. He was helpful and friendly and loved by those who knew him. I realized yesterday that I want to be more like my Dad, a person who did not give into his disability but became better because of it.
I am forever grateful to my family and friends who are walking this walk with me. I cannot express enough how important it is when you reach out to me; even if I may be slow in responding back. Every interaction is a Blessing.