I’m fragile right now. Are you?

I’m fragile right now. Are you?

I couldn’t get the words out.

“It’s okay,” Alicia said. “Take your time.”

I was trying to check the box, just one box on my way-too-short Christmas to-do list. I wanted to accomplish one thing that could still make this Christmas feel more like a normal Christmas.

I’d won the auction item at our recent Pathfinders for Autism Un-Gala event. I’d enjoyed one Faidley’s famous Crab Cake Dinner and was excited about sending another one to my daughter and her family for their Christmas Eve dinner.

It will be the first time in 33 years we haven’t been together for Christmas.

My unmet friend and comforter, Alicia, was checking her own boxes while taking my order—side dishes, address, recipient names, and date for delivery.

I rattled those answers off quickly, no problem.

“And what would you like to say on the note?”

“Merry Christmas,” I began. But the rest of the words stuck in my throat. Out of nowhere, my voice thickened.

I couldn’t speak.

“I’m sorry,” I finally stammered, my breathing labored, and tears blistering my eyes. The awkward silent space between us grew.

“It’s okay,” she said. “Take your time. I understand,” she paused again. “I do.”

Something about her tone, her reverence about my emotional moment unexpectedly connected us, as if she too were joining me in my struggle with perhaps one of her own.

“Thank you,” I exhaled. “I don’t know where that came from. I’m so sorry.” After a few deep breaths, I finally finished the thought that was so hard for me to say:

Merry Christmas! I love you and miss you so much.

“Yes, of course. I’ve got it,” she said softly. After we finished the phone call, I sat for a while thinking about those words:

I love you and miss you so much.

I love you and miss you so much.

Oh how those words pierce my heart deeply, personally, and yet are profoundly universal and inclusive, too!

How many others will be saying these very words on Christmas Day?

Will you?

We all have lost so much, some much more than others. And yet the words have the power to still connect us, to create a safe place where tears help us jettison our pain and deal with the unrelenting grief the pandemic has left in its wake.

Once again, as we have done in every stage of the pandemic’s course, we must find a way to move through it.

And, once again, we must ask, but how?

For now, I’m focusing on three things:

  1. Staying small.
    I’m making it a priority to delight in the little things.

    That perfectly wrapped present.

    That perfectly wrapped present.

    The first glow of sunrise.

    The first glow of sunrise.

    Tripp, my aging puggle’s faithful gaze.

    Tripp, my aging puggle’s faithful gaze.

    I’m going to let the small things speak to me every day.

  2. Staying creative.

    I’m recommitting to living fully and creatively within my limitations. I should be used to this rethinking mindset since I’ve been living with paralysis for 23 years!

    But, I’m not.

    Daily, I assess and reassess what I must accept and how I can adapt. It’s exhausting at times, but always worth it because it allows me to set achievable goals.

    That kind of creative thinking yields a refined purpose that’s been vital in keeping a healthy outlook as I’ve continued to self-quarantine for nearly 10 months now.

  3. Pivoting from gratitude to grit.

    Gratitude always puts my mind back into positive gear. When I say three things I’m grateful for before I get in my wheelchair every morning, life is already better.

    Yet, gratitude is a reflective analysis, a snapshot, of what is. To be fully utilized, I’m discovering, gratitude needs wheels!

    What can I do with what I’m grateful for? How can I use what I’m grateful for to make that day better?

    To pivot from gratitude to grit, we need to let gratitude become the fuel to help us power through our struggles.

    To pivot from gratitude to grit, we need to let gratitude become the fuel to help us power through our struggles.

    Gratitude, the evidence of what is still good in life, can become the fuel that keeps us strong and determined. We can be confident that life can still be good—we have the daily evidence!

Make no mistake, though, life is HARD right now, for all of us. A fog has descended upon us that refuses to clear. Granted, there may be light at the end of this tunnel, but we won’t get any closer to it unless we keep moving so we are prepared to receive it.

Meanwhile, I’ll be delighting in the small things, creatively refining my purpose, and turning gratitude into the grit I need to stay strong.

How about you? Are you fragile, too? How are you staying strong? Tell me about it. I’d love to know.

Yep, even with fragile hearts and measured steps, on we must go.

Love to you in this season of love.

Merry Christmas!

My best – always,

Becky  (Nana B)

P.S. Grateful for the good care Madison continues to receive during the pandemic and for our regular video calls that keep us connected.

Grateful for the good care Madison continues to receive.

P.P.S. Thanks for all who participated in our Pathfinders for Autism Un-Gala Event! Your support and generosity meant so much to me. Thank you!

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