Everything is black. There is light above, in the distance, shining through shards of glass and pieces of canvasses covered with my favorite art, Renaissance and Impressionist, all triangular and just out of reach. I reach for the next one, it’s circling and its sharp edges cannot be reached. Jumping now, I grab it and begin to pull myself up.
Bright light intervenes and I’m in a beautiful setting with palm trees and sand, then I awaken in my old cement block college dorm room and there’s a blow-up palm tree sitting on my desk with a paper I’ve yet to finish. Repeat ad nauseum.
Finally, I emerge into the light, and am free. See, I’ve been a coma for a month, trapped in my mind and body and unable to get out. One thing I remember clearly is a blank grey space into which I said “If this is death, I need to go back, I’ve got stuff to do.” And I do.
For three months after I awoke, I was told I was the hardest working patient on the brain trauma floor. Near the end of my confinement a shrink who should lose his license said to all the other doctors and therapists, in front of me: “Is this the smart one? Well, she’ll never get out of here or will spend her days in a place just like this and no, she’ll never drive again.”
Two weeks later I was home. A month after that I passed my driving test (tester said it was like I’d never been away) and then as a ward of the state I was supposed to show up in court so I could be institutionalized. I called my state attorney and he said he forgot to contact the court to have my status reversed. I told him I would represent myself and my husband was on the road but would be at court virtually. Oops! In one fell swoop, my identity, no, existence, was erased. They sent a lawyer to evaluate me surreptitiously. Mom taught me to be a great hostess so I asked him if he’d like me to brew him some tea, he sat down and discussed the weather then quickly excused himself, knowing I was sane and would be fine.
Perhaps the injury jiggled things around a bit but I had a cataract and after surgery for that, I was able to get corrective lenses and read and therefore write again. Thank you, WordPress, for being here still for my return. Someone stole my blog address while I was gone but I was able to change to a .com instead of .net and everything for the past ten years came back to me. Writers block kept me away for a while.
But I wasn’t afraid of much else, as a death scare tends to put things into perspective. Like for nearly everyone else, 2020 was mostly bad with decent health but no work. Politics became more of an interest, but that’s because I like to imagine my way around sticky situations. Always a problem-solver, I also think outside the box (now, literally).
It bothers me that I live in a swing state and for months our president, US senator and state legislature have tried to illegally rob me of my vote. My vote is my voice, a precious thing. I spent a month convincing myself to get out of my own way to be free. If I can do that, I can do anything. I’m pretty stubborn, ask my husband if you still don’t believe me!
I believe that we have rights and should be able to exercise those rights in a lawful fashion. We live in a democracy that awards us certain freedoms and with freedom comes responsibility. We vote for people to represent us and maintain our rights. If they choose not to represent us fairly and tell us the truth, we have a right to un-elect them through the ballot box or even a recall election if their faults are egregious.
This has been a dark year for our country and for the world. Judging from our democracy, many of its leaders have not dealt with the challenges well. It is our responsibility to assure that we have people in leadership positions to help us through these dark times so we all can see the light.
As I see it, it’s not about Democrat or Republican, it’s now about America. This week’s activities to overthrow our government should scare all of us. We must do better. We must meet in the middle and fix this mess, and we must start by accepting the truth. On January 20, our country is going to be on a new path, whether one likes it or not. Americans, starting with President Trump, can no longer pretend that Donald Trump will be leading this country at 12:01 p.m. next Wednesday. Alternate reality is not reality, folks.
After my dark year, a year before COVID-19 shattered our lives and livelihoods, I had a chance to strive for light. Our old dog Zoe was with me at the hospital but died before I awakened. She was a gift we named “Zoe,” Greek for life when we adopted her fifteen years earlier. Our old girl could never be replaced but on December 31, 2019 a puppy was born. Eight weeks later Lulu came home with us to start a new chapter. Lucia, Italian for “bringer of light.” Zoe would have approved.
I’m looking forward to light, and freedom. And a COVID vaccine shot. I’ll wait my turn for the vaccine, but not for the rest. Buon’anno, Dee