Posted with approval of the people depicted.
Somewhere after Hanover "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" came on. I considered where that song went, and stopped the music.
My wife was back at a friend's cottage just off the Bluewater. I'd filled the tank a town before, at a diner and Shell station or, rather, a man with grey ponytail and beard had. I was surprised when he took the nozzle ahead of me.
"You have full service here?"
"Well.... We have half-assed service here."
My destination was not much farther. After finding my way around the inevitable construction in the route, I found their house on a rural road, second on the left, with vintage-looking lanterns on posts running up the drive.
He came out and waved the "just a moment" signal. Medical researchers were on the phone.
Once he had finished with them, he greeted me and took me around to the back yard. I felt apprehensive; she smiled when she saw me. I know that smile.
A little over a year ago, she'd experienced a massive stroke. She often fell asleep reading in another room, so he wasn't too surprised when she wasn't in their room. He found her unconscious. She was taken to the nearest hospital, in the smallish nearby city where she'd attended high school. From there they airlifted her to a place better-suited to treat her.
The prospect was abysmal. The rare condition that led to her stroke and the degree of its effects suggested she would not be returning to her family.
She came home 74 days later. Therapy of various kinds has been extensive and ongoing. Their children returned home to help.
She can walk now, with a cane. Both arms work, though one has not move for months and must be rebuilt. Her vision seems fine. She clearly follows and understands everything, though her ability to reply in words remains limited. It is growing. Her spirit and personality shine through. We visited for a time and talked.
Medical researchers are on the phone, literally.
He reads to her-- she was always a reader, and at present maintains a reduced capacity to do so on her own. I brought along my own books and a heavily-illustrated coffee table tome on our alma mater. My thought was, the people who have most mattered in her life, her husband and children, are present to help her rebuild the neural pathways from the greater part of her life. But sometimes the smallest things can also be of assistance, and she had a piece of her life before them. University, for example.
There were no photos of, say, her as Boy George on a Homecoming float dedicated to pop music, after an electric jello breakfast, but she leafed through images she would recall from over a quarter-century ago.
I look forward to visiting again.
She has always affirmed life and remains one of the strongest people I have ever known.