Day 8: Live Despite The Pain

A mourner entering Erica Garner’s funeral said her father’s death took a toll on her health. Numerous times I heard how heartbreak facilitated her passing at the age of 27. I played those bites several times as I wrote the story about her funeral today (1/8). The comment made me think about a conversation with my neighbor “Miss Carol” about mortality the same morning.

“Miss Carol” was the first neighbor I met in my townhouse development. She was a nurse, always active, and constantly smiling. This changed when she suffered a stroke the same time I did more than eight years ago. She never fully recovered. I did.

“Miss Carol” stopped driving permanently. I gave it up for about a year. She lost a lot of her vision. Mine came back. She was left limping with a cane. I was fine until inflammation in my spine made me get a walking stick too. She had to quit her job and I’ve never stopped working full-time.

This morning, we were both taking out the trash when I said,”I should’ve taken your bag from you.”

She snapped back, “You got your own stuff and you got a stick too. Plus, I have to get out and keep living even though it’s hard sometimes. You know my sister died around Christmas. We were real close. I loved her. It’s painful. I miss her but I don’t want to join her anytime soon. So I’m going to live until it’s my time. I’ll see my sister again someday. I believe that. Today, I wanna see the sun and get things done.”

“I’m sorry about your sister but I hear you. I try to enjoy every day that I feel well.”

“Um hmm. You off to work?”

“Yes, ma’am”

“Well be careful and don’t work so hard you get sick. Protect your health. It’s a shame when it’s gone too soon and you aren’t ready.”

#neighbors #EricaGarner #cane #nj #ny #spoonie #autoimmunedisease #invisibleillness #chronicillness #chronicpain #igg4 #disability #2018 #tvnews #journalism #healing #stroke #women #author #backpain

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