So Long Ago…

So Long Ago…

                                                                    By Brenda M Bodanza

I remember, one summer day, lying on the beach, feeling the warmth of the sun, soaking within my skin. Listening to the seagulls flying above my head, feeling the tranquility of the ocean breeze, thinking life doesn’t get any better than this.

The warmth of the sand, between my toes, as I dug my feet within the embrace of the earth. I remember enjoying these magical moments most of my life, as the summer season approached, taking for granted, that this would never end!

I dreamed forever, I’d be visiting here, enjoying my paradise. My favorite place to be, viewing the ocean front, walking the shorelines, listening to the serenity that could engulf me, within my thoughts, of total peace, for that’s what it all did for me.

Then one summer day, I remember, while walking onto the beach, as my feet hit the damp sand, my feet seemed to spasm , a pain shot through my toes, right up to my knees, and all of a sudden, I feared I might fall. Luckily I was able to compose myself, and continue to fight, this sensation I was feeling that brought me a fright.

As the years continued, every summer seemed to bring something new, that perhaps I tried so hard to ignore. There was no explanation, how all this came on, for I continued to fight those spasms that my legs now performed.

I fought and won while I made them stand in that cold ocean water,  till the day while standing ankle deep, a little wave knocked me right off my feet. I laughed as my children were watching me, for all of a sudden I had no sense of balance it seemed.  The ocean was playing right against me, for no matter how stubborn I tried to be, it was determined to show me, that the water was just too powerful for me.

Soon the sand beneath my feet, felt like hot coals burning through my soles. But more than that, my feet felt like they were in quicksand, making every little step I took, feel like I was walking with cement blocks attached to my feet.

I tried so hard, to make light of it all, but inside, I was worried. I continued to struggle and not give in, to whatever was trying to invade me. I would do whatever it took, to continue enjoying my piece of paradise.

I remember setting my goals to the day when I would be 58 years old and finally my youngest children would be 18 years old, where I would finally be free, to begin my venture of a new journey just for me.

I would visualize my time, at my ocean paradise, running the beach at dusk or dawn. Waking at the crack of dawn, grabbing a coffee and sitting on the rocks, listening to the waves rolling in the ocean, and thinking I waited so long, to accomplish this. Total serenity with just me, no longer having to watch my children, or worry about someone else, but arrival at the time, where I would be so independent on my own.

I would dream of being that awesome 58 year old grammy, running with the grandkids, climbing mountains, playing games, enjoying life with no restrictions, swimming, dancing, or just plain old walking.  I was reaching that whole new world ready to embrace me.

Until that goal of the perfect dream, exploded by a monster invading me. A chronic illness, that bore no cure, that was going to teach me, the importance of life, that one could ever see.

Life’s lessons on gratitude, and taking nothing for granted was now the mission, placed before me. Simple things like, brushing ones teeth, which is only allowed providing the arm doesn’t tire before the task is done. Sitting on the floor, and hoping to have the strength to rise back up onto your feet. To be able to walk barefoot, without your feet, sticking to the floor, unable to move. To be able to wear normal shoes, like sandals, moccasins (my favorite), clogs, boots, for now you support braces and have to have special shoes. To be able to walk up the stair, for now your leg (s) no longer bends,  to run downstairs, forever forbidden , for you no longer have sensory feelings, now you could fall instead.

How I wish I could just be, the person I was, when I never thought it could be all taken from me. How I wish, I could take a walk, and hold you close to me, perhaps feel your hand inside of mine, but those days are gone, for now my hands hold a crutch to support me.

So no matter how much I resist, the monster has totally engulfed me, it continues to show its face, no matter how much you try to maintain your own saving grace.

Now you learn, the importance to life, and you pay close attention to every single step you take. You are careful to never lose ground; you thank GOD everyday that you wake. How grateful you are when you open your eyes, and breathe upon the morning rise. You notice things you never saw, and you breathe. And every day you start again, with thanking God for another day.

You struggle more often than not, as you continue to progress, but fight hard to not cave in, to letting this monster become the King!!

You fall over and over, and crawl right back up, refusing to give up and let the monster win. Your drive is so strong, for deep within your soul, is still the same person that had all of their goals in place.

Life has changed, the battle is huge, you no longer can see in front of the road your on. But you realize that it’s so much easier to see, what is right in front of you, for today!

For now, you wake, thank the Lord as you step your foot on the floor, and prepare to start another day. And at the end, you smile for the day is done, and you made it through, to go to bed, and start all anew. You now promise to make the best of what you have, and you learn, that nothing, nothing is ever forever, for it all could be taken from you!





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