My April Time

Last week brought big changes. First, although I was not supposed to have the surgery to get my fixator off until this Tuesday, April 4, when I went for my pre-op on Monday, March 26th, the surgeon decided to take the hardware off the next day due to irritation around the pin sites. So, I had the surgery on Tuesday, March 27, the seventh anniversary of my life mate/soul mate’s death. I spent Wednesday in bed trying to recuperate, finished packing on Thursday, and moved on Friday and Saturday with the help of some friends.

I hadn’t really planned to move, but the place where I was staying had become un-conducive to healing. (Is that proper terminology? If not, the words describe how I felt, which makes it proper.) And this new place fell into my hands. It’s across the street from open desert, and while the house itself is much quieter than the one I came from, the area is vastly noisier. Dogs barking, power tools screeching, and trains howling. (This is a major transit area for trains, not passenger trains but freight trains, and they come within a mile of where I am staying, sometimes every few minutes, blaring horns all the way. Yikes.)

Still, I think the trains create sounds I can get used to, I have earplugs for other intrusive noises, and — did I mention? — I am across the street from the desert! I can’t really go hiking yet— because of my destroyed arm I am considered a fall risk (and I feel like I am at risk for a fall) — but I can pick my way carefully through the lower trails and washes. The neighborhood is also much nicer than the one where I’d been staying, and I have a private bath, which, along with the proximity to the desert, helps offset the noise pollution. (It’s amazing to me how much noise pollution we allow. Why should one man with a chainsaw be allowed to destroy the quiet of an entire neighborhood? It doesn’t seem right.)

I still have a long recovery ahead of me, at least a year, perhaps two, until I get to my maximum mobility. Although the surgeon continues to claim I will only end up with fifty percent mobility and guarantees that I will suffer from posttraumatic arthritis, I intend to do everything I can to heal. If I were with someone, I’m sure I would have the same resolve, but being alone and facing a future alone, I need to give myself the greatest chance of being able to take care of myself completely for as long as possible.

Oddly, despite a few surges of grief over the fate of my arm, I’ve handled the situation with equanimity. Perhaps the lessons of grief and other adversities have finally sunk in. The arm might be deformed, might be lacking in strength and mobility, but I am not deformed. I am not lacking in strength and mobility. Whatever happens with the arm, it in no way changes me — who I am at the core. (Of course, it still hasn’t been determined who I am at the core, but I don’t know if it’s necessary to make that determination. It should be enough simply to be. To adapt. To become.)

One change I’m curious to see how will affect me is that for the first time in a long time, I have a place to read and relax other than on the bed. Will I be able to sleep better using the bed only for sleep? I guess I’ll find out.

It seems sort of a new beginning, this April. I passed the seventh anniversary of my life mate/soul mate’s death. I got the external fixator removed, which will allow me to enter a more active role in my healing. And I have a new place to stay.

In her book The Stillwater Meadow, Gladys Tabor wrote: “People have seasons . . . There is something steadfast about people who withstand the chilling winds of trouble, the storms that assail the heart, and have the endurance and character to wait quietly for an April time.” During the first years of my grief — while I worked through the pain of my life mate/soul mate’s death and our separation, adjusted to life without him, learned to think of him with gladness instead of sadness, searched for new ways of being and new reasons for living, realized that he is he and I am I and we have separate paths in life — I held fast to the idea of an April time.

Now, finally, an April time — perhaps even my April time — is here.


(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”) Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

13 Responses to “My April Time”

  1. Deborah Owen Says:

    I am so happy for you. Do you mind if I play like mother for a moment? Always carry water into the desert, and a cane for balance. Are there snakes there? Oh dear. *fretting

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I don’t mind, but you don’t need to fret. I always carry water, always use a trekking pole (and will use two when my hand/arm allows). And I always listen/watch for snakes. There are mojave green rattlers here, but they are kind enough to warn me of their presence.

  2. Sherrie Hansen Says:

    More progress! I’m so glad you’re on the mend and moving on to the next phase of healing.

  3. Katherine Says:

    Happy to hear that you’re looking forward, have a great amount of determination, are aware of your path and taking your well being and healing to a higher level, at least that’s what I gathered from your sharing of thoughts. (((HUGS))) Congrats on your new living arrangements, as you know I live very close to RR tracks and while they are loud, for some reason the sound is not a disturbance to me, except when I’m outside and trying to talk on the phone! Enjoy, learn, grow and be all you are!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Yes. Looking forward. I need new adventures! Although dealing with an injury is challenging, it’s not the sort of adventure I desire. I think with fondness of my time in Kansas, and I hope someday I can return to do more exploring.

  4. LordBeariOfBow Says:

    It doesn’t take long to get used to the trains/locos shunting the freight cars. Happened to me,many years ago, first night thought I’d die or go crazy, after a week I didn’t hear a thing.
    Amazing how quickly we adjust And they were steam locos, which I dearly love.

  5. Mary P Says:

    And I always listen/watch for snakes. I am so happy for you.

  6. Charlotte M. Liebel Says:

    Hi Pat… Spending a quiet hour catching up on your new adventure. Guessing that you are out in the ‘boonies’ alone! Best wishes and looking forward to reading about how you are spending your days, finding your way to a store, cooking on a decent stove, and maybe adopting a dog to keep you company! {{Hugs}} Keep well. ~ Now that I think of it, you must have WiFi.

    Charlotte M. Liebel‏ @Sharliebel

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I’m renting a room in a house in a neighborhood, so although there is desert across the street, I’m not isolated. Or rather, I won’t be once my arm is healed enough where I can drive. And yes!! WiFi! So important.

  7. Charlotte M. Liebel Says:

    Oh! Well that is great! Happy for you. Your new desert home looks so inviting and I like ‘alone’ yet not isolated. Also, nice to have people around to help chase snakes and spiders! Do hope you can manage meals/ or get help. Sounds like a great adventure, Pat. Thanks for sharing. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. {{Hugs}}

    Charlotte M. Liebel @Sharliebel

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