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When All Else Fails
Essay first published in the Remembered Arts Journal
I waver and sometimes stumble on snags. I encounter hurdles I’m powerless to overcome. When I falter, my frailty is plain to all. Since I’m human, I can recover my footing with love, magic, and even grace.
My lifelong passion has been to work in life-affirming nature, with flowers and green plants that imbue my spirit, strengthen my fiber, inspire creativity, and help me through dark times. I embraced the study of Horticulture. Strong and able, I was a professional gardener. Life had a purpose among the plants.
Then, a brain hemorrhage struck an ominous blow in my prime. A dread to my core, like a storm, gathered. Not asleep, but dead. I couldn’t move nor could I speak. Thought disrupted. Vision blurred.
There would be no gardening. No kneeling or bending for a weed. No reaching for a fragrant rose. No staking floppy Asters. No pruning or planting. No striding out to summer borders.
I’d miss the scent and touch of the dried grasses, brittle in the fall breezes. The crisped stems; turgor gone. Or stems that never strengthened – too much shade or not enough wind to batter them. Not enough weeping rain.
Either stretch and move or...there was no choice and stay alive or acquiesce to long, healing sleep. Unless I once again aspired, I would lie in bed and dream I stood--think I moved a hand or took a stand. My toes move. Then my foot. You can do it. You must do it! Start, or lose the chance. I heeded the warning and reached for courage. I cried. Was angry and fought. I felt my wounded pride; the bitter self-pity for what I’d become—for what I lost.
When my crying ceased, I remembered my toes had told their truth. They taught me to walk. To become again. Imperfect, but able. I would not be a dainty, flimsy flower. Frailty is not this woman. I’m a survivor.
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