"When you're finished changing, you're finished."
Wise one, that Ben.
Almost 240 years later, my dad's car idled in the darkness of 5th Street and Washington Avenue. It was 3 a.m. on August 20th, and we were headed back to the hospital.
Mom and Dad sat quietly in the front seat. In the backseat, I shivered -- sweatshirt hood pulled over my head -- huddling over a doubled plastic Target bag. Every now and then, my mom would turn around and say, "You all right?" I answered through gritted teeth. It took every ounce of energy to keep the contents of my stomach where they were supposed to be.
But as we waited for the red light to turn green, the three of us fell silent. We stared out the window at the patch of blacktop where this story all began.
I am home from the hospital less than two weeks when I'm drawn back there.
On this particular afternoon, I have just finished meeting with my realtor, Melinda. The house is finally showroom ready. In less than a week, it'll "go live" on the market.
Instead I head out the door.
This never gets easier, and it never feels normal.
I take inventory. There's a handful of people waiting for the bus. And the building coated in scaffolding last fall is now almost complete. It will be condos, I think.
I wasn't sure I could make it this far on foot.
You might think this story doesn't fit here, after the serious mile marker above. But this is how each day goes. Mourning fades into afternoon, hospital trips into field trips, seashells into donuts.
Our long time family-friend Ellen is in town from California, and she wants to walk!
How can I refuse? Ellen's known me since before I learned to walk -- ahem, the first time. And she's been following my recovery closely – even from 3,000 miles away.
Our favorite is vanilla lavender. But in my humble opinion, they are all better than roast pork.
And we get an open invitation to California.
But we surprise ourselves by walking all the way to South Street. Almost 2 miles round trip.
Things do change -- for better and for worse. After all, Ben Franklin and company didn't write the Constitution all at once.
No worries, Ben. I'm not finished changing yet.