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Lilac Thank You Notes

It’s been 5 months since I had my hip replaced, and the gratitude I have felt calls for a long, thank you list…

Thank you most, Benjamin, for never leaving my side. From the beginning, back in November, when I made the decision to have surgery, through the scary moments when I looked ‘too small’ as nurses wrapped me in warm blankets and wheeled me away, the even scarier moments when I was shaking uncontrollably from a severe reaction to pain medication, to all my firsts—first walk into your arms without a cane, first stair climb, first painless hike at Rockefeller and stroll through the city, you were there. Thank you. I love you, and I am grateful for every moment with you, all the time.

Thank you, my dear friend, Miko, for coming to the hospital and sitting with Benjamin as he waited for me to get out of surgery, staying with him as he received the phone call that my surgery was a success, and coming to see me all groggy and goofy in post op. You joyfully saw my full recovery even before I did. Thank you for all your chanting, your beautiful friendship, and deepest well of positive shine. I love you.

Thank you, my dear friend, Kate, for flying here to help get me through the first two weeks of recovery and for celebrating all its craziness through our Art Camp. The circular breathing, foot massages, music (especially the illustrated, magic song lists and the silly ‘drug alarm’ with the accompanying tip-your-hat motion), doing PT together, end of day movies, and spontaneous poems, all of these were, as you would say, THE BEST! Thank you for your tireless keeping up with notes, dishes, cooking, and cleaning, and most of all, for your healing intuition, deep connection to nature, and our unspoken bond. I love you.

Thank you, Amy. Your calm and knowledgeable voice on the phone kept me focused, saved me like a life raft through moments of extreme fear, and soothed me like a lullaby so I could sleep. Your senses of both pragmatism and humor have always helped me to maintain strength and hope, see the logic in holistic healing and the weirdness (and sometimes the benefits) of Western medicine. My book buddy, mom-in-law, brilliant physical therapist, nutritionist healer, and friend, thank you. I love you.

Thank you, my dear friend, Loretta, for bringing me a photo of Isadora Duncan dancing by the ocean and a lilac -scented candle. You didn’t know about my photo montage/dream board that Kate encouraged me to make, but you brought the last piece of it. You didn’t know that I named my scar ‘lilac,’ but you channeled the image anyway. You are among my tribe of magic, poet witches. Thank you. I love you.

Thank you, dear friends, Allen and Nick, for the care package of homemade almond cookies and vodka (These are a few of my favorite things!) the vintage, and in excellent condition, Dorothy Parker book of short stories, the telegram (my first one!), and especially for coming up here to surprise me for Easter (Mary Magdalen’s Day) and indulging me with some dancing! I love you both with a big, big love.

Thank you, dear friend, editor, and co-conspirator-collaborator extraordinaire,  Athene, for being on the other side of the pond and still so close. Knowing that we’d get back to our chats after I healed was my light. You were (and have been) my light, my newest friend, one of the toughest, loveliest women I have had the pleasure to get close to…big virtual hugs and hopes for a face-to-face soon. I love you.

Thank you, my sister-in-law, Charleen, for coaching me on what to expect and making me laugh by saying, “Now, right before they put you under, they’ll say they’re going to give you a nice cocktail, and it’s not the kind you’re thinking.” You were right, they did, and I think I actually laughed as I went under. Thank you for helping me face this and know I am here for you too. I love you.

Thank you, my brothers, Michael and Matthew, for listening patiently on the phone and for always, since we were kids, making me feel like I could be brave. You both live your lives with courage, you’ve taught yourselves everything, and you’ve always been so in touch and connected to nature. You’ve led me by example. You’ve always been my heroes in the woods or on the water and your voices keep me strong. I love you.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for going through this with me all over again. You were 20 year old ‘kids’ the first time. Your baby girl had this major thing that needed fixing, so you fixed it. I can’t imagine what it must have taken to make that decision, but I am eternally grateful that you did. You and Dr. Rudy and his team gave me 40 years of walking and dancing, and now I am returning, remembering how good it felt to move. I wouldn’t be me without your selflessness, love, and sacrifice. To this day, you still act as caretakers for everyone, in whatever way you can. Thank you for being who you are. I love you.

Thank you, my sweet niece and nephew, Hannah and Blake. Hannah, your healing gift lives deeply in your voice. You are so powerful, smart, and clear that when I am most afraid, I see and hear you first. For this surgery, your confidence literally helped me walk into the hospital and know that I’d be fine.  And Blake, your promise that you’d take me to Flatwoods when it was all over was a rope I held onto. When I need hope, it’s you that I turn to. Thank you for giving me something to look forward to and for knowing that nature is truly our best medicine. Niece and Nephew, thank you. I love you both more than words.

Thank you, extended family for praying and lighting candles. Thank you, Uncle Tommy and Aunt Darlene for serenading me with songs and poems. Thank you, Aunt Barbie, for the cards and letters. I miss you and I love you.

Thank you, my surgeon, Dr. Cross. Sir, you are truly a sculptor, a miracle worker, my superhero. Your medium is titanium and you make bionic people, you made me Jamie Summers. You’ve given something back to me that I thought I’d never feel again. I am indebted for life. Thank you.

Thank you, entire team at HSS, especially the nurses with your senses of humor around less-than-delicate topics like catheters, passing gas, pee shyness, and power puking. All of you turned yourselves inside out for me. Thank you.

Thank you, my HSS physical therapist, Kavit, for teaching me little songs like “up goes to heaven, down goes to hell,” so I could remember my footing for stair climbs, and for making sure that my PT progress was not hindered by lack of sleep and a challenging roommate. You were fierce and compassionate. Thank you.

Thank you, my visiting nurse, Gina. Along with taking out my groovy staples and monitoring my vitals, you saw the terrible allergic reaction to the pain medication and promptly weaned me off of it. I was terrified and you helped me stay calm, prescribing the correct antihistamines and lotions to get my skin and body back to normal. You saved me. Thank you.

Thank you, my visiting physical therapist, Dan, for using the poetic phrase “thoughtless walking” and convincing me that this was something I would accomplish. Thank you for the counter top exercises, for patiently walking beside me, keeping Sam-Tux kitty from curling too much around my legs, and for your overall calm instruction. You rule. Thank you.

Thank you, my current physical therapist, Laurie, for being such a bad ass and showing me the best physical therapy “homework” exercises. I can feel results in both my strength and flexibility thanks to you. You rock.

Thank you, Emily Dickinson, my poet spirit, for reminding me during the long winter weeks of recovery that poems were right outside my window.

And thank you, animals, for showing up at all the right moments, like you always do…starlings, vultures, crows, my grand hawk, Sam-Tux cat, all the neighborhood puppies, the fox across the rock wall, and the snake who came later, I love you and I hold you in my poems.

Gracias a todos y felicita al movimiento en los meses y anos venideros!

 

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