Sunday, September 23, 2007

Strong at the Broken Places - Melissa - September 14

Greetings from the North End of Boston, a hip part of town with tiny
cobblestone streets just big enough for horse and buggy--streets more
than just a touch scary for a guy in a wheelchair! Our outing to a
park 2 blocks away was a memoralbe adventure--adrenaline surges over
every treacherous stone!

Had we lots of time and money, we'd be wining and dining at fancy and
boisterous Italian restaurants and bakeries here in the North End. As
it goes, instead of red wine and eggplant parmesan, we're hanging out
with a crowd of people with ailments and issues much more tragic than
a superbly healing gracilis flap. The level of suffering in a place
like this (not everyone heals so quickly, not everyone will leave this
rehab center and go home) is profound, further fueling the gratitude
that Mark and I have been filled with every step of the way through
this injury.

Mark continues to heal so very well, but I'll let him tell you about
that directly. He is up and about and wanted to be in on the writing
of an update to our circle of healers and supporters.

As for me, I'll share just briefly. These wonderings I find truly
fascinating. First, a few weeks back, I was struggling to keep check
on replaying images of the accident over and over again in my head
(even though I wasn't even there...). Then after a couple weeks, my
mind switched it up--from Mark being in the image to ME being the one
to have my leg crushed. Wow. Second, I have caught myself, when I am
getting dressed or getting out of the shower and toweling off, to be
especially careful around touching my lower right leg---and then I
realize that I actually don't have a wound there---Mark does. Another
wow. I've had a passing glance at thinking of this as a pathological
level of involvement, but then I've just become very intrigued by
these responses. I've marveled at the ability to empathize, and to
truly share difficulty, to be deeply present with someone elses
healing. It also seems to me to be symbolic of the fact that it is not
just Mark's life that suddenly changed last month but that mine has

And what else? Last spring, Mark and I had been talking about doing a
re-committment ceremony this fall on our 7th wedding anniversary in
October--a time to renew our vows. I'm not sure if we'll get around to
a ceremony now, but the last few weeks have been a ceremony of a
different kind. Seven years ago, Mark wrote in to our vows "I vow to
tend this union in times of ease and hardship that it might grow in
abundance and strength...." This whole ordeal makes for an interesting
relationship to hardship. Not that I would ever choose to have my
partner's leg crushed, or my own, and yet as we look at the event from
the distance of more than a month of healing, there is growing
"abundance and strength". In thinking about the transformation that
comes out of hardship, I turn to a line from Hemingway that I've held
close to my heart long before this injury. In working with trauma,
these words have been solace:

"The world breaks everyone
and afterward
some are strong
at the broken places." ----Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

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