for better or worse, home

I am high on words. I was at a course this week at UBC, a follow up to the one I did last summer. It surpassed my expectations. Speaking theme and process, reading excerpts of books, lingering over poetry, and writing, writing, writing….like I said, I am high on words. Listening to each voice in the room sharing their work, distinct and inspiring, I’m stirred up and from-the-bottom-of-my-heart grateful.

I explored more of my story and here’s a bit of what emerged from the week.

When I was given permission to go outside the nurses warned me that it might be disorienting, I may feel like turning around. However, I should resist the urge and get outside the walls for a while. I didn’t understand what they meant, not when fresh air swirled around me, not when the crisp November wind fell on my face.

I was wrapped in blankets, stuffed into my hospital issued wheelchair. The days ended early in November and it was cold, winter nearby. Scott leaned against the chain link fence of the deserted tennis courts near the hospital, and faced me. We were silent, neither of us having much to say, content to be alone. It was our first outing in five months.

I was beginning to understand the nurses caution and the urge to return to the walls of the hospital. I had forgotten what outside was, how open and distant everything felt, like the wind could swoop me up at any moment and carry me away. I was a speck in a very big, very wide world. As patients we were cocooned in the hospital, nestled in a safe, sterile environment. I wasn’t sipping margaritas poolside at a resort, but I was in the perfect condition for survival. I was an infant cooed and fussed over, the object of everyone’s attention. It had, for better or worse, become home.

Even though the hospital was situated in the middle of one of the busiest streets in Vancouver it was far from the real world. There, in the tennis courts on a wintry November night, I saw I was on the edges of that world, the closest I had come to it in a long time. I felt as though I had aged a hundred years, afraid of what life out there meant for me. I was ripped from my world one person and returning someone else. Who would I be?

I reached out to hook my fingers in the chain link fence taking in the night that stretched out in front of me. A few seconds passed before I pushed on the tires of my wheelchair. I looked up at Scott, “I want to go home.”

9 thoughts on “for better or worse, home

  1. Kate Coveny Hood

    I've missed you Heidi. Feels like we've both been away.

    No matter how hard it can be to read, I love every excerpt of your story. It's so raw and real. Maybe the fact that I know you now, years later helps. Knowing WHO you are now makes every dark moment still shine with hope.

    I just got back from BlogHer and heard that it's going to be in CA next year. Don't know if Chris will let me desert him again (can't ask for a while – the weekend alone with the kids is still "fresh") – but if I do, I'll be looking for roommates…

    Reply
  2. Christy

    Heidi, this is one of my favorites…if this were (is one day) a book, it would be a total page turner. I wouldn't be able to put it down, full stop.

    I echo Kate's sentiments about San Diego next year. Only I'm not able to control myself and already talked to Matt about it and he's said he'd love for me to go again – ALONE. YIPPEE! The kids behaved for him this year; hopefully they do again next year!

    ALSO, totally off topic, Kate and I were sitting at the bar in NYC and talking about how much we love your blog and how we want to meet you. I told her that I recently noticed I'm one of your faves in your sidebar. I told her it put a HUGE grin on my face when I noticed it. And Kate said I needed to tell you – DOH of course I do – Thank you! Made me smile wide Heidi!!!

    Reply
  3. bernthis

    great job, as usual. I can always see exactly what you are describing even though I've never been to Vancouver nor met you or Scott in person.

    You are an incredible writer

    Reply
  4. Linda Sue

    So glad to hear about your writing workshop! Jazzed- high on words! Love the very real perspective of yours!BIG KISS!

    Reply
  5. Intense Guy

    "High on words" are you? 🙂

    I suspect some of that workshop rubbed off on you and this bit of writting – it's soooo silky smooth and so … "puts the reader in the seat of that wheelchair" its amazing!

    🙂

    Reply

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