Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Saturday December 26 - The Chris 2010 Version

Quinn already has an obsession with his DS. When he woke up this morning rather then come into our bedroom and say good morning and give us morning hugs, he was immediately drawn to the DS. I don’t like this very much.

This morning, once we lured Quinn to the bed, all four of us lay in our big bed, talking with each other. Annie and Himmy joined us, only Barbarella elected not to join in. Family time in the family bed.

The family bed has been a focal point in our family from the first day of our family becoming a family of three. Initially, you didn’t like the idea of children in our bed. But I think the idea grew on you in time. To me, it felt natural. I couldn’t think of any higher mammalian terrestrial species where the mother didn’t share her bed with her offspring. It seems very natural and to me it seemed like the right thing to do.

Tara’s (with her restless legs) presence in the middle of our bed as an infant paved the way for Quinn (the kicker). After a few years, it felt odd not to have the children in bed with us. Now that they are older, their nights in the ‘big bed’ are infrequent but welcomed.

You are changing. Since your stroke, you have shown a side of yourself that you have kept hidden beneath layers that have accumulated over the years. It seems the stroke has peeled these layers away. I have noticed this. When I ask you about it, you say you noticed this too. You say that I have had a big influence on you. “I am talking like you would talk, I’m even using your reasoning powers. I am using your way of soft talking to convince me to do the right thing.”

Tara wants to go for a run. She is inspired by you and she has designed a workout schedule. The biggest part of it is running. She wants to run with your GPS watch, so we can map out some distances around the streets close to the house. I dug it out from your desk. When we turned it on we saw the last time you had used. Aug 30th. The day of your stroke. 10.08 km. The day of the race. It was rather eerie seeing your time. 48m31s.

You are able to remember how to operate some gadgets but not others. The GPS is one gadget that you can relearn quickly. This watch you had used every day for over two years. It has stored in it over two years of run history. You give Tara a quick lesson on how to operate it. She went off for a run around the block. She circled back after the first loop around the block and did a second loop.

She is pleased that you are interested in her desire to run. Every child wants to seek the approval of their parents. She is getting your approval today.

I tell you about my idea for a corner of your room downstairs. I wanted to make an Addiction to Life Marathon corner. “We can use Laura’s rug hooked banner to mark the corner. You are not impressed with the concept. “I want the hooked rug over the Boston Marathon corner. I don’t want a space in my room for the stroke, I want to move on.” You say.

In a way, I’m happy to hear this. I don’t want you stuck in this stage either. I want you reaching for the future. I thought that a dedicated corner would help fuel your desire for working hard but you don’t see it that way. You don’t want to look back, you want to look forward. In many ways, it’s like a road race. You don’t run the race looking back. No, you run while looking forward. Why would this race be any different?

Chris G came over and we discuss the generous offer of money that you received this week. You ask Chris what you should do. You still feel that you don’t deserve the money. I can’t help but notice that you don’t think you deserve the money and yet you don’t think that you deserved the stroke. There is no fairness in any of this.

I point out that by receiving the gifts graciously, you are giving gratitude. You are helping teach the kids of the youth group what it feels like to think beyond their own needs. This is an important lesson that will allow the youth to be good role models in their community. Your gratitude is a gift too. We talk about how you can pay it forward at some point in your recovery. That could be your gift to your community.

You ask “Who is Chris Cashen?” You feel that a person has to have a plan that they can accept. It is based on their beliefs and values. Now it also includes your experience from your stroke. Your stroke, in some ways is like a rebirth. The impact your brain is having on your lookout on life huge.

You say, “The end goal is something I have to live with.” The end is not written yet. It is to be determined. Chris Cashen is the man who will overcome this, you are the only person who will can show you the way to the end of this marathon. You get to pick some of the marathon course.

In the afternoon, Annie and I went to visit Dad. Every visit, that I have made, I felt it might be my last. I don’t know how many more visits I would have. He was quiet. He tried to talk, but it was difficult to understand his words. I told him it was OK and that he could let go and sleep. He seemed comfortable. I sat by his bed quietly and remembered our lives together.

After, Annie and I went to visit your friend, Donald. He was very happy to see us and he was eager to hear about you and your path to recovery. He is bight and alert. He gets confused a little at times but he is aware enough to know that he is confused at the time.

The conversation drifted to how independence changes throughout life. Infancy dictates a high level of dependence. It is gradually cast off. As an adult your independence is high. So high in fact, that you expect others to become dependent on you. As the years pass, independence fades away and leaves you in a similar state as you were when you entered the world.

Adjustments must be made to allow this process to happen without much stress. Most older people have years and decades to adjust to their new levels of dependence. You had to adjust immediately. Even though it may be temporary, this adjustment becomes a big challenge. A challenge for you and a challenge for me.

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