We were on our way from Florida to the mountains on North Carolina on July 3, 2012 for my mother’s 90th birthday party when we got the call. She had fallen and broken her hip. It it said that “life can change on a dime,” and now I know what that means. My mother’s life will never be the same again. She went from a fiesty, independent senior who lived alone and still drove her 2004 Kia to the grocery store and local doctors’ appointments to someone who will never drive again and will probably never know the independence she once enjoyed and coveted so fiercely.
As I sat through long nights in her hospital room, I had a lot of time to think… not only about how this accident would alter my mother’s life forever but about my own life, too. I realized how often I take for granted my independence and my ability to choose what I will do every day, every moment.
When my mother was finally well enough to be moved to a rehabilitation/skilled nursing home enviornment, I spent several days there with her. There were patients who would never get out of bed again, and their eyes watched me as I passed by their rooms, others who would cruise up and down the halls in wheelchairs with no destination, constantly moving, only pausing to look at me and touch my hand as we met, and then the lucky ones who were only there for a few weeks until their bones were healed or they could be released to continue their normal life.
That facility had activities almost everyday for the patients, but there was a sign saying “Thursday – clogging and singing in the recreation hall.” My mother was already placed in her wheelchair that morning when I suggested we “check it out.” As I was her navigator, she went along willingly although I didn’t give her time to protest. That sterile hall which also serves as a cafeteria was transformed, in a matter of minutes, with music, singing, and dancing. I remembered how I learned to clog (a mountain style of dancing) when I was a little girl visiting my grandmother. When the group invited anyone to come up and clog, I hesitated for a minute. Would I look stupid, could I even remember how to clog? Then a line from a country song flashed through my mind: if you get a chance to sit it out or dance …DANCE! So I did.
I clogged along with the rest of them and had a ball. I might not have been as good as the others, but I didn’t think about it. I danced like no one was watching. I want to live my life never sitting out a dance because I never know when life can turn on a dime for me. So join me. DANCE!