Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Of time and friends

Dear Jan:

As the first anniversary of the "A" day came and went, we are finding out that time is our greatest challenge to face.

Time has this quality of softening the sharpness of pain to a point where it is almost a soft a sand, of mitigating the urgency that novelty has. Do you remember? the first few weeks after the "a" day, friends and relatives were really eager to see you, to know about you, to do something to express their feeling for you. As time went by, and knowing that you had survived, the visits dwindled, the phone became silent, the mailbox filled up with dust and snow. This happens everywhere to everyone. Time and the heavy demands we put on our limited days slowly normalizes your on-going battle with rehab look more like everyone else's battle to survive. Time has made your presence among us "normal" again.

The upside of this is that you are welcomed in almost every situation. Everyone makes concesions to accomodate the extra time it takes you to do things, to speak, or even just to move. Everyone suspend judgements when your behavior is a bit odd because of the communication disability or the fatige. All seem glad of receiving an opportunity to extend grace to you, to be considerate and sensitive. It always makes one feel good to be good to someone else.

The downside is that been seen as one more in the bunch, you do not receive any special attention, or the extra visit or the call that at the beginning used to be so important to the giver as well as to you, the receiver. Without the emergency factor, time just levels everyone in the appointment books.

And so, here you are, not being able yet to remember who has called you or wrote to you. Your memory has to be refreshed everyday to make calls and when you make them, you cut them short because that is all you can handle. Your emails are minimalist, because that is all you can write. And as time goes by, you try to fill your days by volunteering at the church office, at the rehab hospital in the area, by meeting on a regular basis with one of your most faithful friends, by going house hunting with me, by taking long walks in the neighbourhood by yourself. Your friends may have gotten busy, but you are certainly not waiting for them.

The Aneurysm slowed you down, but could not stop you. The cold cannot stop you, the distances cannot stop you, in spite of time, you go on making progress and expecting to get everything back... you were promised this much...

Everytime you see a friend you react as if it was the first time you saw them. So much joy. Seeing time in a slower motion as you do now, may be a blessing because you get to enjoy more the time spent with those you love. Really, time has just seasoned your friendships. So, in spite of the few and far between encounters you have with them, time in you hands is transformed into a glue that keeps you close to them.

I am glad for your optimism and your skill for keeping friends.


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