Friday, December 18, 2009

Leaving the past in the past...

If you keep up with our Caring Bridge at all, you may have read that Nicole has written her final farewell on the site. Caring Bridge was a valuable way for us to communicate to family and friends, particularly in the first critical weeks after Nicole's accident. Thankfully, it evolved into a site that chronicled her amazing recovery--the good, the bad, and the craziness of it all. I learned alot about her while living through it all and writing about it. I realized how truly resiliant Nicole is. I realized how she has a magical effect on all those who come into contact with her. I realized that she has no filters at all, and she treats everyone equally, with kindness, humor, and encouragement. I realized that I'm more proud of her and how she has handled all this than ever.

But for Nicole, Caring Bridge represents the time in her life when she was broken. She understands the purpose of it, and she was uplifted by all thousands of well-wishes people wrote on her guestbook. But she is turning a major corner, and she wants to leave that in the past. Her focus is where she is in this moment, and where she wants to go. So, she wrote a farewell on facebook, but invited anyone who wants to keep up with her to visit her website, which includes a blog. Folks can still make comments, which is similar to the Caring Bridge website.

Nic's website is still a work in progress, but it is quintessentially Nicole! It has her energy, enthusiasm and positive vibe. Her great friends Talameka and Drew have helped her get it up and running and she's having a great time writing her blog entries, and sometimes even including videos snippets of her life.

As her presence on the web is evolving, so is her room. It is hard for Nicole to be back in the room where spent her teen years. Afterall, she has lived in France, the Berkshires in Massachusetts, downtown Louisville, KY and of course, New York. She's a girl who loves to spread her wings and go...coming home on rare occasions and for just a few days at a time. Now she's back home, and even though she's 26, she feels 16 all over again. But as her physical abilities improve, she's taking steps to give her room her own touch. Out are all the photos of hospitals, therapy, and old loves. She is filling her room with more positive things--dance prints, art she's chosen, and best of all for her--the ginourmous orange crushed velvet couch that was in her apartment in Hattiesburg. Impractical as I think it may be, she loves it and it makes that space feel more like her own. She's still got a bit of a stubborn streak in her--I suppose it's that tenacity that has helped her get to the point she's at right now! Today, we'll decorate her purple Christmas tree and her room will be ready for the holidays!

As for me, I like to hold on to a few things from the past. It's how traditions are developed and I think it's good to see where we've been. I choose to hold on to the fond memories of the past and try to forget less-than-happy memories. Christmas is naturally a time of reminiscing. We pull out decorations we've used in past years, including all the precious little ornaments that the kids made as they were growing up. THose things give me a happy glow inside as I remember my children in their younger days.

But I don't live in the past. I'm very much about the present, so I find ways to incorporate those things into my 2009 decorating. Instead of mourning loved ones no longer here, I find joy in remembering them during this time of year. Three years ago, Larry's mom, Isabel, was here at Christmas and she delighted with every aspect of the season. It made it all the more fun for me to decorate my house, go to Christmas concerts and parties, and all that goes into the season. She just delighted in each and every ornament, light, decoration, song...and now during Christmas, I have the fondest of memories of her. Last year, "Dirty Betty" was with us at Christmas. We loved having her in our home, joining us in our celebration, and she couldn't have been any happier. She truly had a wonderful time, which delighted me to no end. So this year, as I decorate with the things that Betty loved so much, I fondly remember her in my heart.

So I believe Nicole has the right idea for now to leave all those hospital and rehab memories in the past, but as more time passes by, I think she will learn to look at the time differently. She'll look back and think about the wonderful therapists who she became so close to. She'll remember the extreme kindness of friends and strangers, all concerned for her--all rooting for her to get better. And I think she'll even look back on the time she moved back into her teenage room for awhile and it wasn't so bad afterall...

Blessings to all who read this!

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