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Louise reads her new poem, Blessings:


 

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A Life Interrupted: Living with Brain Injury

This Month's Featured Essay

Angels in Blue

     Moving is the pits. It is an exciting adventure into the unknown, but it is also bittersweet. I try not to think about how many times I have moved. Thinking about all the people, homes, lives I have left depresses me. The number of moves? Eighteen in adulthood, plus ten in my growing up years.


Each time I have packed up my belongings, I’ve had to say good-bye to friends, church community, neighbors, the comfort of favorite stores, familiarity of roads, community events and traditions. Even my friendship with the land, the bird and animal visitors of the area, my role in the community, and the familiar scents of each season are missed. The list is endless of what I leave behind each time I take off for another place to live and create a new life. 

       Of course, there is an excitement of forming new friendships, exploring new shops, and becoming part of a new community. Environmental differences are always fun to explore; the different varieties of plants and animals I might get to know, changes in weather and climate, a new relationship with a different landscape. It is an adventure of sorts, until I start missing the familiar, the comfort and safety of home, and missing the security of knowing where I am going and where I will land. When I move it takes some exploration to find new favorite spots.


After a move to Longmont, Colorado in 1999, I found Macintosh Lake, which is surrounded on one side by towering, old trees, soft, green grass and a few picnic tables and benches. On the east side, a walking path lies outside the grassy area and follows the edge of the lake. From the path one can see the Rocky Mountains, a rugged backdrop to the peacefulness of the lake. Nature at its most magnificent, with water, grass, trees and mountains, provided me a lovely scene.


One evening after dinner, my husband and I drove over to stroll alongside the lake, seeking comfort in the natural surroundings and magnificent views. We were hopeful for a beautiful Colorado sunset. As we walked and I talked about my homesickness, it was clear that grief had raised its head for attention. On the other side of the street I noticed two small girls, about 5 or 6 years old, barefoot and strolling leisurely along the cement sidewalk. One was dressed in a sleeveless, deep sky blue, soft rayon-like dress; the hem like a handkerchief. The other girl, younger, was also dressed in blue; a lighter blue cotton dress with delicate patches of cloudlike bursts of white. The older girl held something cupped in one hand. Speaking, her other hand gracefully swept the air to illustrate her sentences. The younger one was rapt with attention in what she was hearing. I envied the image they presented of a fresh breath of air.


Suddenly, the older one, with the younger close in step, started across the street and spoke to me, “Would you like some flowers?”


“I don’t have any money,” I replied.


“Oh,” she said, with a tilt of her head and a sweet smile on her face, “they don’t cost anything but a smile!”


I met her in the middle of the quiet street. I cupped my hands to receive the pink flower petals she held so carefully, and said, “Thank you.” I felt a movement inside my body, an opening of my heart that transformed my sadness into wonder. As I walked back across the street, I stared at the beautiful petals and lifted them to my face to smell the sweet scent they held. I gazed back in amazement to watch the girls as they continued their walk. Then I looked up at my husband, sighed and said, “Angels, do you suppose?”


After enjoying the petals for a few minutes, I put them in my pocket as a reminder of the delightful surprises that life can present us when we least expect it – even in a dark moment. 

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