Keeper of the Flame

I am sitting upright now, a thing I haven’t been doing much of these last few days. Surgery on Tuesday went very well, but has left me quite pummelled. Besides, even if I were feeling full of myself, I am under strict orders to behave; to not jostle, stretch, wrench, strain, or harm in anyway the new infrastructure tentatively stitched together inside my chest. Two weeks worth of extreme carefulness.

I want to be good at this, I do. I want to be the gold star patient and I think I would be, if only my head were not also a part of the process. That presents a few challenges. I miss being me. I miss being the cog in the wheel that runs the rhythm of our days together — the horses, the dogs, and me. I have no reason to worry though, none at all, because Gordy is here. He has taken off the whole week from work to pull double duty as my nurse and to be keeper of the flame here at home. And do you know where he is right now? In the car driving down to the Orlando airport to pick up Reagan who will stay with us — mostly with me– for a week, picking up Gordy’s duties here when he flies out on Sunday. I am in good hands. We are in good hands.

I just have to work on my head game.

It’s not easy when the dogs keep asking “are you sure” questions:

Are you sure you have to be sleeping right now, Mom?

It was very exciting when I moved from the bed to the chair. Still the questions kept coming.

Are you sure you don’t need me up there with you, Mom?

And then we would negotiate our compromises.

Of course, there’s room for you, Monroe.

Marco is most aware of the difference and hovers at my side assessing how truly functional I am. He would not leave, not even for meals, which means his food had to be hand-delivered.

I’m not taking a bite until I know you are okay.

I have graduated from the chair in the bedroom to the chair at my sewing machine. In anticipation of this down time, I had precut two quilting projects so that I had something to do that complied with the range of motion allowed to me during recovery. Here is what I am working on now:

A quilt for Clara.

And here is my view while I’m working:

Marco and Molly, at my feet.

No matter what I say, I don’t feel that Gordy will ever get enough credit and recognition for all of this. In my better moments, I tell him so. I tell him how grateful I am and how wonderful he is with the horses and, look, the dogs are starting to follow you around which is a sure sign that you are, indeed, the boss of things. There are other moments though. The moments where I am frustrated at my own limitations and I get fixated on how things “should” be done — meaning if I were doing them. Also, I am needy myself, so a great many dialogues start with “Gordy, I need…”, “Gordy, come here…”, Gordy, can you…”. That must be fun.

It rained hard last night which is good for the grass, but makes horse keeping more complicated. I convinced Gordy to let the horses loose, but give them access to the barn for shelter in case they needed it. They sought shelter alright. They also managed to flood the barn aisle, which meant that, in addition to all of the usual horse feeding and caretaking duties, Gordy had to mop up a big, wet mess. And me? Well, I watched him do it because there is no part of this clean up job that fits within the proscribed restraints of my post-surgical care.

Mostly mopped up.

Maybe all of this will make him glad to go back to work on Sunday. I don’t know. I do see though that I’m not the only one who has benefited from his steadying presence. He has made everything work; not exactly in the same way as if I were fully present, but that is not remotely the standard of care here. The measure of his success in keeping us glued together is right here in this picture — Gordy, snatching some time to work on business before the chores of the day call to him, finishing his breakfast by scraping small bits to give to each of the dogs present. And they know it. They are with him.

Waiting for you, Dad.

I have one job and that is, to heal. I have the privilege of throwing all of my energy in that direction because this saint of a man makes it be so; not once ever complaining, always making things work for my benefit and for the benefit of our tribe. Please see that. Please see what a good man he is and send him lots of loving support. My words just aren’t enough.


Writing about what sings to me from a life made full with animals.

2 thoughts on “Keeper of the Flame

  1. Wow! Is this the final stage Lisa? And tho difficult as it is, you’ll be a rock star thru it all again, no? So, so glad you have Gordy by your side. What could be better? So, heal quickly and you will soon return to ALL that bring you joy. My healing thoughts and energy are with you every step of the way.

    Liked by 1 person

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