I woke up particularly low this morning. My baseline emotions are fundamentally optimistic, but this morning- not so much. Like a woman untangling a mess of necklaces, I teased, shook, and parsed the emotions to better understand their source. I have no interest in wearing them, but they insist.
I have been here before. The persistent ache in my left hip has become constant; a simple turn, a slight loss of balance, and the sharp pain is irrefutable proof of destiny. It is more difficult to mask the limp. I struggle with the realization that I can no longer ride my horse for fear of not being able to dismount. Even after a short ride, the breathtaking, unstable stab in the left hip as it rotates to dismount is a safety risk. I know that. I don't want to know that.
My morning blues are a mix of bright turquoise and cobalt gray. Surgery is 16 days away. Multiple appointments and tests interspersed with the “usual” activities distract my time between now and then. Doing stuff helps me feel “normal.” But this isn’t normal. Except…
I have been here before. I recognize this path. Two years ago, my right hip retired from service. Its release came as a surprise – as its abilities diminished, needs were masked and misunderstood until constant pain and disfunction were undeniable. In the end, the end came quickly, with short notice and surgery terminating a long and fruitful career. I released it with gratitude; relief was immediate. Its replacement is deft, fluent, and pain-free.
in response to a question shortly after that surgery, the surgeon’s assistant tapped the left hip in an x-ray and said, “Two years – we’ll probably be seeing you.” Her words were prophetic. Tempus fugit. Before persistent pain and joint dementia could lead to a repeat of muscular atrophy and physical diminishment, surgery was scheduled. My left hip will soon join the right in that limb limbo of retired body parts.
I have been here before. I try to focus on gratitude and the sunshine of relief that will come on the other side of this dark valley. I am so grateful for modern medicine, health insurance, my supportive and loving husband, my trusted and capable surgeon, and the amazing mechanical entity that can extend my ability to live a life of joyful moving, dancing, riding, loving, being. I am blessed. Compared to the real problems in the world, my puny little pains are entitled whining. I'm not complaining. But I’m weary, resigned, resolved, determined, because... it's hard to say good-bye…. again.
Aging: a dance in letting go of what was so we can reach for what might be.
"Iris Mae Precious" performed & choreographed by M. Linda Graham, Aerial Dance Theater, 2003; Photo by Erik Alberg