She must learn again to speak
starting with I
starting with We
starting as the infant does
with her own true hunger
and pleasure
and rage.

-- Marge Piercy

For Kristin

For Kristin

Too soon.

She had so much left to give--to her husband, to her kids, to all the people she loved. To me. To us.

I met Kristin about 18 months ago. We had the same therapist (Megan) for the 8-week study on phonomotor treatment at the UW. Megan thought we would hit it off, given we were about the same age (Kristin was younger), we were shocked and dismayed what life threw at us, in the form of the stroke and aphasia. Needless to say...Megan was right.

We discovered we both loved Mexican Food (specifically, Cactus), not-loud-loud coffee shops (specifically, Caffe Rococo), that our (ex-)husbands worked for Amgen. But she was more than a friend, she was a soul sister. And when she said "yes, I know," she really did. Kind of like veterans, I imagine. Veterans of stroke.

We talked about, friends, our identity. We talked about how tired we were, because speech is hard for a brain injured person. How bad we were at math and spelling since the stroke. We talked about what it means to us when the term "brain injured" or "disabled" is applied to us.

But God never takes away without giving back.

Like, speech therapists, who we are lucky enough to call friends. All are brillant. Mostly, they all have big, compassionate hearts.

Friends like Kristin.

That's what we mostly talked about, without words. Courage balanced by acceptance. The courage to face each new day with our kids, with humor, with gratitude; while not letting stroke define us. Always looking ahead...

We hadn't been friends for long, but she taught me about grace and saying "yes," life. How ever much time I have left, I will always remember her spirit.

After all, real love never dies, it just changes to become more real. 

Friendship transcends disappearance: an enduring friendship goes on after death, the exchange only transmuted by absence, the relationship advancing and maturing in a silent internal conversational way even after one half of the bond has passed on.
— From ‘FRIENDSHIP’ in CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words. © David Whyte & Many Rivers Press
The Last Leaf

The Last Leaf

No Rush

No Rush