I’ve always been one to talk to myself. Sometimes I answer back, and sometimes I don’t. It depends on who’s around. Most of the time it’s the usual. Why are you trying to put the Apple charge cord in the Kindle, Helen? Why? You know, normal everyday stuff like that.
But a few years ago, I stopped writing. That’s something I’ve done only one other time in my life, and it was because of trauma. I won’t go into it here, because it’s a story for another day, and it’s a tragic one at that. But this time it was because of injury, and then illness on top of that. I got hurt on the job, and my carpal tunnel had progressed that I couldn’t type, or write. I couldn’t even hold a book, and that about killed me. (Thank God for Kindles and cell phones with the Kindle app!) And dictation was out of the question, too. I said goodbye to writing, yet again, not knowing if I’d ever be able to pick up a pen. And it was wrong, so wrong. I wasn’t supposed to be disabled! I was supposed to be published by now! This wasn’t how it was supposed to be! I felt robbed, cheated, and angry. Very angry. And very depressed. And I won’t lie, some days I didn’t want to live. My family was the only thing that kept me going.
I was lucky enough to have carpal tunnel surgery. After physical therapy I began writing again. Then I had knee surgery, and began physical therapy for that. Exercise became possible. Healing began. It was slow, but it was an improvement on being housebound. Then I had oral surgery. I had to learn to pronounce words all over again, so I could talk to people without spitting all over them. Soon I was walking around the house all day talking to myself. My daughter was at work, the grands were at school, so there was no one at home but me.
Before long, I was talking myself hoarse. I was dreaming conversations with my father, who had passed three years earlier. He’s the one person I want to talk to more than anything on earth. I dreamed I was having conversations with my first husband, who had passed away 19 years earlier. We had our problems when he passed, but it didn’t matter in my dreams. We got along fine. Laughed together, even. But, it wasn’t enough. I had to write. I had to put words down on the page. It was like once I had turned on the flow, it would not stop. And more kept coming. I opened up software that hadn’t seen the light of day in years, and I started writing. Sometimes we’re blessed, and we’re given second chances. I plan to take advantage of this one.
Some of the best conversations I’ve had were in cars, riding with my husbands, winding the back roads. Leisure riding. Watch sunsets, the countryside, the rivers. Exploring old barns, abandoned shacks, antebellum houses now fallen to ruin. Old rickety wooden bridges I didn’t want to ride over, afraid they would collapse. Crossing creeks and getting out to wade in my bare feet. But they are dead and gone, both the husbands and those days. Some days I doubt if I’ll ever have someone in my life to ever have those kinds of conversations with again. Then I remind myself how blessed I’ve been to have found love not once, but three times. Some people never find love at all. Not even for themselves.