There's a man in a recliner at each end of our house today. Each is nursing a wound of sorts. Grampie, of course, sits in his faded blue recliner in our light-flooded front room. Unlike in the Northeast, which is bracing for the blizzard of the century, here in the Northwest, we're experiencing unseasonably warm temperatures. Beve texted me a picture of a down the road that read 69 degrees (farenheit). Though the crocus haven't bloomed, the daffodil stalks are beginning to peek out of the soil. I'm practically pulling out my shorts and sleeveless shirts.
But I digress. It's easy to do that. I could positively wax poetic about the sun and how it dapples Grampie's face while he sleeps. He doesn't notice, but I do, and there's a bounce in my step that's been missing in the sloppy gray days of the last month. I don't kid myself that there aren't more of those gray days ahead (I am at peace with where I live) but it's nice to see the sun for a moment in the middle of winter.
However, to my point. Grampie has a wound on the knuckle of a toe. A broken blister, to be exact. Most of us have had blisters on our feet at one time or another in our lives. Wear a new shoe too long, hike too many miles in unbroken-in boots, dance too long, and you'll get a blister. It's part of placing all the weight of our bodies on two rather smallish things at the bottom. Those dang feet take more wear and tear than any other parts of our external frame, make no mistake. But Grampie didn't get his wound from walking or hiking or dancing. He got his from sitting. From disuse, to be exact. And oddly, this blister that's come from disuse is worse than any blister I've ever had--any blister I've ever SEEN--from use. He hasn't taken a single step on those feet in over a year, I think, maybe two. And now his toes are curling and rubbing against his soft socks and slippers. Until finally the skin broke.
At the other end of the house, in the less lit (through no fault of its own) tv room, sits our son, J. J had surgery today to lengthen his left Achilles tendon. This is Achilles surgery, the sequel, if you will. He had the right Achilles done last July, and exactly six months later, has had the second one done. He'll be laid up almost as much as Grampie for the next few days, needing help to bath and even walk. We'll be carting food, ice-bags and pain meds down the hall to him.
Helping J when we aren't helping Grampie.
Or one of us will help him and one the other.
But there's a significant difference between these two men.
J's a 27-year-old man. He has this 'wound', because he's healthy and wants to live better, walk better, be more active. These Achilles surgeries, as grueling as they are, will help him walk, run, play basketball and even football without pain. They'll help his daily life be easier. He has a wound so that he can live better.
Grampie's wound comes because he's dying. Yes, that's blunt. And no, I don't mean that he's dying today or tomorrow or even next week. I have no idea when he might die. But it's true that he's closing in. And that makes his wound a sadder thing. Harder to heal, to be sure, since he doesn't have health and youth on his side. But sadder because if even sitting and wearing soft down slippers can give a blister, how thin is that skin?
The skin between this life for Grampie and heaven is just about that thin, too, I think.
It won't take much for that skin to break.
We think we ready, but I know--I know--there's a wound waiting ahead for Beve. For all of us.
No matter where we KNOW he's going, his leaving will still be hard.
However, I have no time to think of that today. I have two men to care for, sitting in recliners at opposite ends of my house.