How ‘bout that, it’s May already! That’s a bit nuts right? But I’m certainly not complaining. After all, I’ll be the first to say I’m a cold weather wuss and snow/ice and I are only friends on Christmas and the days I don’t need to go anywhere. But here we are, sunshine and blue skies. I’ve even got tan lines already! Granted, they’re pretty dumb looking tan lines, but they’re totally there.
It’s kinda funny how transitions work. I guess it’s another one of those things I never stopped to think about before. Each day there are these tiny little adjustments, tiny modifications, tiny adaptations; so tiny you don’t really even realize they’re happening. Then all of a sudden, you actually pause to look around at the world around you and see buds on the trees, green grass, and highway construction crews (I’m pretty sure the last one is the most indicative of springtime in Wisconsin). Just like, BOOM! You’ve transitioned to a different life phase!
I feel like some aspects of a spinal cord injury transition are very similar.
Yea, I’m certainly still in my “learning” phase and I’m certainly still considered an SCI “newbie.” I don’t really know how long I can claim the “newbie” label, but I’m pretty sure I still can now. Anyway, I guess I’m really talking about one particular aspect of the walking to wheeling transition. It was one of the things I was really afraid of experiencing during my transition. It was a fear that I never could stifle. I scrolled back through some of my early posts and goodness, I even blogged about it ( Change(verb) ). So that fear…
The fear of forgetting.
Yea, sure, we all forget things. If you’re my Dad, anniversaries are generally on the top of the forgetting list. But I’m talking more specifically about forgetting things that are an inherent part of the walking experience. Those things that are so inherent that we don’t even realize their existence let alone how awesome they are. Things like the intricate process of movement, of contracting muscles and pressure. Things like subtle sensations, feelings that go so easily unnoticed. Once those things are gone, I think it’s pretty reasonable to fear forgetting them.
Yet, it’s not something I think about on a daily basis. Life gets so busy (especially when you’re doing a bunch of traveling and getting stuck in the airport for hours because your flight just got cancelled—yea, that might be happening right now)
Life gets so busy that you don’t take a daily inventory of your “walking memories – – – until something happens. Until something happens that makes you stop in your tracks and do that little inventory. Now I can’t really say what it was that made me stop and take inventory but something did and I was a bit muddled with what I found. Or I guess, with what I didn’t find.
I don’t remember anymore.
I mean, I know I did walk, I know I did feel things in my legs, but ask me to really give a vivid description of it, and I’m at a loss. Sure, I can come up with something, but it’s not like I “feel” it or can even imagine “feeling” it in my legs anymore. It’s kind of like trying to look through foggy glasses. You can sort of make out blurred edges and you think you know what you’re looking at, but maybe you don’t. Maybe it’s different than what you think it is. Maybe it’s different than what you thought it was….
It’s a hard thing to explain, especially when walking is likely a very normal and everyday occurrence in your world. It’s even harder to try and collect my emotions and thoughts on it all. It feels like it just happened, but really it was all those tiny changes like with the seasons. All those tiny adjustments and the gradual fading of memories that I didn’t even realize when it all went black.
You know, I do miss those things. I miss being able to conjure up the feeling of walking or just of “feeling” in my mind. But it’s not like that was something I did on a daily or even occasional basis. Maybe it’s really that I miss knowing that I could conjure up those feelings if I wanted to. It’s a bit upsetting and I guess it even made me a bit angry….
Yet, as I sit here, I can’t help but think to myself, “Does it even matter?”
My answer: No.
The fact I can’t remember those things, the fact I’ll never remember those things doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change the kind of person I am or the things I can and will do. It’s just another step in a transition I never expected I’d need to make, but am making as proudly and as gracefully as I can.
We all have some form of those transitions in our life; those things that seem to come up out of nowhere but have really been there, slowly changing all along. It’s strange those first moments you’re actually made aware of that transition, but in my mind what matters isn’t the transition itself, but the response.
You know, that’s always the question…
What really matters?