|March 2010: six days before my stroke|
It has been a long time since I have grieved over my physical limitations. But this Thanksgiving my brother's family escaped to our shared condo in Mammoth. As I think of them there, I cannot help but remember the time we shared together just days before my stroke.
We had gone to Mammoth to enjoy the snow with my young niece and nephew. We are from Los Angeles so snow is miraculous, magical! I was as excited as the kids. They were finally big enough for inner tubing!
The kids eyed the tubing hill with uncertainty as we buckled their helmets under their chins. We had signed the liability waivers and were persuading my nephew to try it “just once.” We doubled up one kid with an adult and we flew down that mountain!
"Again!" they screamed as soon as we skidded to a stop.
We headed for the towline that hauls riders up the hill. I rode with my niece: me on my back in the tube, her small body warming my belly, our faces turned to the sky and the snow-laden trees. I recall the swish of our tube over snow, intimate whispers between us. What did we talk about on that gentle ride up the mountain?
These are the moments I miss.
More than two years have passed and the children are big enough now to ride their own tubes. I cannot ride at all. I suppose my experience is no different than the parent who loses the child through its growing independence. I just wanted more time.
This Thanksgiving I remind myself to be grateful for the time I had, and the time I still have to make new memories.