Lisa’s Turn: Henry’s Recovery, The Rose Bowl, and Newtown, CT
Henry has graciously allowed me to claim some of his prized blog space and reflect on the year of 2012 as it draws to a close. During the last twelve months, living with me and my husband, Bob, Henry’s gotten stronger and more opinionated while recovering from his stroke. It’s been a joy to witness. I dread to think where he’d be now if I didn’t sign him out of that institution called a rehabilation facility in December of last year.
I’m grateful to write SOUL SHERPA and I experienced many more highs than lows this year. Before elaborating, I want to acknowledge some collective low points for all of us. We are all part of the same human race (even though days like today cause me to wonder.) My Uncle Tony lives in Newtown, Connecticut. We all know about the senseless tragedy that took so many innocent lives today (mostly children’s.) Allow a troubled human being with access to firemans and only heartache and tears will follow. Debate gun control, mental illness, universal healthcare coverage, and the 99%/1% divide all you’d like. The bottom line: Life is not perfect and bad things happen to good people. I witness this constantly with my hospice and palliative care patients. In response to this reality, each of us has a choice: Commit to be part of the imperfect good most of us are capable of, or give up and go home. Forge ahead or quit. Each of us must decide.
My heart aches for those who are innocent victims of awful circumstances. I think of them and their loved ones, and all the people who try to do the right thing. I think of small children who won’t grow up because of someone else’s meltdown. I wonder if that meltdown could have been avoided. Could I have intervened (if given the chance) and changed the outcome to where no child died today in Newtown? Soon it becomes too much to bear. The only way I can stay focused and postive is to think like a Sherpa: Keep my intent as pure as humanly possible and let life unfold accordingly. Sometimes I end up with successful brain surgery (2007.) Sometimes I lose someone I love more than my own life (my dad, Peter, 2002, lung cancer.) Imperfect, but still, I consider it a miracle to be gifted with my own unique life.
Henry has, in some ways, taken the place of my dad. It has been a delight to fight alongside with him as he’s battled the odds and recovered from a moderate stroke at 100 years old. Given our mutual love of college football (but not the same teams!) we’ve had quite a season seeing my beloved Stanford Cardinal reach The Rose Bowl. You’d never think a centenarian with macular degeneration and hard of hearing, matched with a 52 year-old woman, would make much of a football viewing club, but we definitely do! If only my dad could join me at The Rose Bowl this New Year’s Day. Not meant to be, I suppose. But I’ll still Sherpa onward.
I think of football. I think of Newtown in the news today. I think of the late Jovan Belcher, only 25, former linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs who took the life of the mother of his three-month old daughter, Zoey, and then his own. It makes my head and my heart hurt. How is it we are capable of so much and so little as humans? I accept I’ll never know the full anwer. But what I do know is I survived major brain surgery in 2007 and am alive. I want to be part of a force for good, as impure as it may be.
I work with wonderful people who believe in me, and I in them. I meet them right where they are in life and we work together to create a flexible plan intent on finding solutions to their medical, legal, financial and/or emotional challenges (plus many other things in between!) Despite my clients’ health status, legal needs, finance status, and unique personalities, we seem to be able to identify desired, positive goals and make great strides getting there. We work with our strengths and try to be honest about our weaknesses. I am trusted with lives, fortunes, never-realized fortunes, reputations and all the monumental challenges those things bring. It’s quite a life to climb that mountain with the very special people I call my clients. I’m rewarded immensely, in personal and professional ways. I want to thank all of them for a wonderful year, and look forward to another in 2013. SOUL SHERPA is helping many different types of people in all sorts of ways. I’m lucky and I’m thankful. There’s been more good than bad. I’ll stay with the same approach in the coming year. I even hope to launch my SOUL SHERPA FOUNDATION in 2013!
It is possible to keep hopes and aspirations alive while never forgeting those whose hopes have been prematurely extinguished. During this season of giving, let us all give the best of our hearts, souls, time, and compassion to those who are hurting. Children of Newtown, Connecticut, you are loved and not alone. I hope my foundation can help you and your families very soon.
Thanks to all readers of HENRY AT 100 & BEYOND during this, our inaugural year. Henry and I appreciate your support and feedback. We aspire to keep you informed, thoughtful, and even entertained in 2013. Just let me see Stanford win at The Rose Bowl first!
Loved this. So well written and means so much.