The trend began with tears at the good CVS on Capitol Hill. The one with aisles so wide that two people can pass each other without having to turn sideways. The one with a nice selection of greeting cards. The one with a rack of canes near the pharmacy.
It was spring 2010. Birds were chirping, and I was raising money for the MS Walk, which I jokingly referred to as the MS Stumble. I walked reasonably well back then, but my stamina was fading. Neal pulled a cane off the rack and wisely/annoyingly pointed out that now might be a good time to give it a try. I didn’t quite point out that he could go to hell, but I did resist, first angrily and then dissolving into a puddle of tears and acquiescence. He paid $25, and I was the defeated owner of a drug store cane, which made its debut at the Walk and became increasingly present and useful over the years.
The next battle was shower grab bars. “They’ll reduce the value of our home!”
A shower bench. “It’s so ugly! Where will we store it?!”
Mobility scooter. “I’ll look old! Besides, where will we store it?!”
And now we’ve come to the biggest change of all: moving from our lovely, old, completely inaccessible house to a beautiful, though less charming, condo. Friends, my brain knows that this change will make my life better, but my heart and tear ducts beg to differ each time I look out at the screened-in porch I have just a few weeks left to enjoy and the fireplace whose final fire I didn’t properly appreciate, not knowing it would be the last. I’m giving up a proper dining room, a jacuzzi tub (which, admittedly, I’ve needed help extracting myself from multiple times), exposed brick, THREE fireplaces . . . and the worst non-spiral staircase imaginable for someone with balance and fatigue issues.
The staircase loss is an enormous gain, as is the fact that our new bedroom not only lacks a step but also has an en suite bathroom. My day-to-day life is about to get so much better, but still I’m weepy and not just in a sentimental I’ve-spent-six-years-making-this-my-home sort of way. These tears, like those that came before, are about personal loss. Needing to move to a condo is my 41-year-old version of being put into a home. It’s the most tangible (and expensive!) sign yet that my body, my life is different than it was a few years ago. It is–really, I am–weaker. And that sucks. I try to frame it as empowerment rather than loss. (Thank heavens for Neal, who is much better at this than I.) These first few weeks sting, though.
When I watch tv now and see a character walking unassisted, I sometimes think “Oh no! She’s left her cane at home!” That’s how normal previously weird and painful changes can become. I have faith that once I’m ensconced in my gorgeous new kitchen, I will feel sorry for those suckers whose homes have more than one story. It will take some time, though . . . and perhaps some assistance from my new wine fridge.
|Aforementioned gorgeous new kitchen. Wine fridge not pictured.|