I’ve gone from “always the donor, never the asker,” to someone who is regularly soliciting donations. For the Breast Cancer 3-Day, for Pilcrow Lit Fest and now for my Aunt Trudi. I hope you will allow me a moment to tell you this story.
Last year, you may remember that my Aunt had a stroke and was near death. Through a series of medical miracles and rehab, she survived and is now at her home in Texas. She is wheelchair bound, paralyzed on her left side and while she’s lacking “impulse control”, she still calls on a regular basis.
Why does she call? The thing she remembers about our relationship is that she is trying to get me married. She also remembers that I’m Jewish, despite my conversion being fairly recent in the grand scheme of our lives. So she calls to tell me that she’s found a Jewish doctor for me to marry if only he’ll break up with his girlfriend and I’ll move to Houston. It is both touching (that she still cares to see me married off) and annoying (that she is still trying to force me to get married), but it is all Trudi.
Her daughter, my cousing Libby (or Liz) is an artist and mother in Seattle and she’s trying to raise money to buy a wheelchair accesible van that my dad found in Indiana. With a wheelchair, Trudi’s husband Bob will be able to to easily get her out of the house and take her into the city, to the store, to church, to visit family. The van represents freedom for them both – a chance to regain some mobility.
I have struggled with Aunt Trudi’s recovery. It breaks my heart that the stroke after a heart surgery that went well left her paralyzed and in a wheelchair. I’ve come to accept that this is her survival. To me there is a great difference between surviving and living. I want her to be able to truly live the best she can.