So, a year then.
A year where paralysis physical morphed into paralysis mental. A year of pain. More pain than I've known in years.
Paralysis is painful. Who knew?
Physically, I've regained 70% of the use of my right leg. And that is that. Walking can still be difficult; standing for long periods is unwise. Climbing takes thought and is very uncomfortable. There is a limit to how long I can drive.
I don't care for limits.
This is not the year I wanted. It was a year of looking inward but not in a happy way. Probably, I learned something from it. I have yet to figure out what.
Still, there was light. Pain or no pain, I took the daughter to New York. I took the son to Chicago. I took the entire family on a crazed tour of the Northeast. I paid for it--in pain--but I'd not have missed any of it for the world.
Perhaps that is the lesson. Can't walk? So what. Show up anyway.
Which is what I did.
SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING I'D LIKE EVERYONE TO CONSIDER DOING IN 2012:
Well, truly, I'd like everyone to stay in nice physical shape so they never have to deal with paralysis and pain, but truth is, I was in good physical shape and it happened anyway. Hmph.
There are lots of worthy causes out there. Help someone. Even if it's yourself.
BEST BOOK I READ THAT WAS ACTUALLY PUBLISHED IN 2011:
Yikes. I don't know. I read a lot of books this year, partly because I spent a lot of time not moving. I really liked Julian Barnes' Sense of an Ending. Presently, I am embedded in--trust me, the verb works--the English translation of Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, which is...bizarre. But I've found that with Murakami, the best thing to do is get in the car and let him drive, even if you have no idea where he's going. The only time he's really disappointed me was A Wild Sheep Chase, which I found pretty much unreadable. Anyway, I know I read other stuff this year. Right now, I just can't think what.
BEST ALBUM I BOUGHT THIS YEAR:
Foo Fighters, Wasting Light
BEST PLACE I STAYED WHEN I WAS AWAY FROM HOME:
The daughter and I just really enjoyed our stay at the Casablanca Hotel in New York. The rooms were tiny, but the service and amenities were impeccable and the location--literally steps away from Times Square--couldn't be beat.
Later in the summer when we were back in NYC, the whole family stayed at The Pearl. The rooms (for New York) were really spacious, and the service was friendly. It didn't quite stack up to the Casablanca in terms of amenities, though they tried, and it was well situated near Times Square. We just loved the E&E Grill next door where we had one of the best and most fun dinners ever, with really good food and wonderful service.
The son and I also stayed at Hotel Monaco in Chicago (see a theme here?), which was nice, too, and we shared the best Cuban sandwich (PORK BELLY!) and truffle fries at the South Water Kitchen.
SINGLE MOST BIZARRE MOMENT OF THE YEAR:
MRI? Getting a needle rammed into my spinal column? Ergh.
BEST CONCERT I SAW THIS YEAR:
There was only one (though I did see Wicked twice, once in New York and once in Los Angeles), and even though I had to sit through half of it, it still would have been the best concert I saw this year: Rush, June 20, 2011, Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles.
THE MOMENT WHEN I FELT MY HEART IMPLODE:
The daughter's acceptance to OCHSA. The son's acceptance to a really good university. I have raised these kids to be their own people, to be accountable to themselves and I am so very proud of them.
And there was that moment. It was a moment that included others but one I cherish quietly and keep to myself.
It was the moments like these that kept me from drowning this year.
We none of us know what the future might bring, and this year, nothing could have been truer. I figured out ways to maintain perspective, no matter how hard it was. And yes, my doctors did approach me like mechanics, as did a team of physical therapists, and I'm grateful to all of them for their insight, their compassion, and their on-going interest in my well-being. In 2012, I just have to put everything back together.
And I will. I am like that.
Because I am, at heart, an eternal optimist, here is to new adventures, new travels, new stuff to do and to love for us all. My wish for everyone continues to be that we come out shining on the other side. Thank you, as always, for spending time with me.
Be safe, be good, and remember to eat your black-eyed peas.
...with hope in your hands
and air to breathe
Go listen to some good music: "An End Has a Start" from the album An End Has a Start by Editors.