Frozen…

Daily prompt: Fight or Flight:  Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

I was high above the earth, straddling a space of about two or three feet.  I had helped my team mates get across the space from one side to the other, and now it was my turn… all I had to do was find something for my hands to hold on to, push off with my left leg, step across the space and onto the other ledge and I and the rest of the team would be home free…

Except that there wasn’t anything really substantial for my hands to hold… that is why I had been there… I was the person everyone else could use to steady themselves as they stepped across.  I would have to do it on my own, with no one to steady me and not much to hold onto…

I was tired, and my muscles in my legs were tired… they were beginning to tremble from the exertion and fatigue of holding the necessary position that had helped others to pass…   And while in reality I was only about eight to ten feet up in the air, it seemed a whole lot higher, and all of a sudden I was afraid that my legs would give out when I moved and I’d fall…

The more I thought about it and about trying to move and the possibility of falling, the tighter the muscles all over my body got and the less strength I felt in my legs… jelly legs they were becoming… and that wouldn’t work… I’d never get across…

I tried to make myself do it… to just push off with the left foot and swing it over… I kept telling myself what to do and how to do it… my mind was screaming the instructions but my brain did not seem to be sending the signals to the rest of my body… or my body was just not listening…

Instead, I just sat there… trembling… frozen…

In the end, I finally had to admit that I could not do it, and the instructors that were monitoring our group’s progress through the obstacle course had to help me down… chalk up a “fail” for the group on this obstacle…

You see, everyone in the group had to get through the obstacle to get a “pass” on it…

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Laundry Time…

They sit in their rooms… or lie in their beds… or sit in a common room… or wander through the halls…

They laugh, they talk, they cry, they babble…

Some are recovering from a hospital stay and will be going back to their homes and families and independence…

Some make perfect sense and know who and where they are…  most of the time…

Some live almost exclusively in their own little worlds…

They are the who-knows-how-many-people who live in elder care facilities… nursing homes… health care centers… assisted living facilities… Altzheimer’s units…  They are there because they have aged and need help in caring for themselves… maybe their memories are bad and they’d forget to take their medicine… or maybe they are too weak to stand or walk or dress themselves or go to the bathroom by themselves or (whatever)…

Maybe their family members need help to care for them… or maybe their family members just don’t want to be bothered…

They are our mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins, friends, neighbors…

Many of them have been forgotten by the world and by the very people that, not so long before, they loved and cared for with pride and joy…

My mother is in such a facility.  It’s a very nice place and Mom is cared for very well.  I visit her almost every day.  We were joking the other day about how she wouldn’t be able to pay her “laundry lady” (me) because that day she just happened to be a “little short of cash”…

And as we laughed and I told her that her credit was good enough for me, I was thinking what a privilege it was to be able to do such an easy and mundane thing as laundry for this incredible woman I call “Mom”… and that I was the one who would never be able to repay the debt…