Now, five years later, things have changed, but only slightly. I still swallow with an effort and will start coughing if I drink water too fast. And when I’m tired, my muscles can’t function normally. So, after five years, I remember Eric’s words and have to agree with him – the wisdom of hindsight, as they say. I’m a different person from the past me: I can’t juggle jobs or type fast or even translate and interpret fast – especially if I’m tired. I can’t walk, not even with a cane. And I don’t know if I will ever be able to set aside the wheelchair, or talk loudly without slurring my voice or twisting my tongue.
I receive the Brain Pickings newsletter every week. Its editor, Maria Popova, picks a topic and comments and chooses quotes around it. In reading Brain Pickings, I came across Katherine May’s book Wintering. The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times. Some of the passages resonated with me. May writes that misfortunes happen to everybody, including ourselves; chance is unpredictable. But we can learn from our special mode of disaster – of winter: “Watching winter and really listening to its messages, we learn … that life is often bloody unfair, but it carries on happening with or without our consent.”
I try to learn from our winter, because it isn’t mine alone: it is Eric’s and Nathan’s. I learned to listen to Eric and share my fears with him. I learned to slow down and watch him; to keep quiet and hear him; and appreciate who he is. I learned to listen to Nathan and try to help him whenever he needs my help (I have plenty of time to chat!) I learned that I have to create an opportunity for us to be together, because I enjoy our chats (when he doesn’t annoy me) and discovering who he is in the bottom of his mind.
Spending most of my time in bed can help me getting closer to them and take pleasure in knowing who they are.