Sunday, October 04, 2015

Wood Aneurversary

Hard to believe; but, yes, it's been five years since my stroke (September 30, 2010,  though there is some debate over precise dates). Apparently, wood is the traditional fifth anniversary gift. It's a stretch, but we did unintentionally go wood stove shopping around the date. And I have to say that burning the past five years feels like an appropriate celebration at times.

At times.

Most days, I wouldn't want to give up all that I've learned and accomplished in this span.

As often is the case come this time of year, I hear many stories recognizing the tragedies of September 11, 2001. And, no, I'm not going to to say 9/30/10 was my own personal 9/11/01; but I was struck this year hearing about a store near Ground Zero which has protected a debris-covered section of apparel as a matter of historical preservation.

It is apparently not an uncommon ritual following horrific events.

Of course, that brought me to thinking about my own cataclysm and what has been preserved of it. Melodramatically, I wondered if I am the living artifact of my own demolition. But there are at least two flaws in that logic:

  • Unlike 9/11 or Hiroshima, I am not a cautionary tale warranting constant reminding of vigilance and prevention. Yes, I advocate for aneurysm and brain injury awareness and prevention; but that's more about people listening to their bodies and medical professionals and people in general not writing off brain injury as just another bruise. You can't walk it off or, "Rub some dirt on it."
  • There is no value in preserving symbols of the event or dwelling on its immediate consequences; nor on dwelling on the relics of the person I used to be. Who I am now, who I have become by building on the foundation left standing is far more important.

There are historical documents I've referred to over the past week: most notably the blogs written by Jamie, comments to them, and Facebook posts surrounding the events. It's still hard for me to fully reconcile what everyone around me was experiencing vs. my own memories in and out of consciousness, especially when I read about the good news which preceded the bad. I remember staying up late the night before my surgery, finally recording what I've come to refer to as my Famous Last Words, with relatively little fear of what was to come.

It still gives me great satisfaction that among the 100,000 or so views of this blog (most no doubt by Ukrainian spambots), about 7% are on that entry. If there's an artifact I strive to live up to or honor, it's the man who wrote those words.

That's one of the reasons I wanted to be sure to write this commemoration of that arbitrary moment in time. As I've told Wyatt when he doesn't want to get up and go to school because life isn't fair, if we can survive the past 5 years, we can get through just about anything.

The rest is all kindling.

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