Falling in Love Again
Tomorrow is my 8th Stroke-a-versary, and not everyone knows my story, and today some of my newer work colleagues and I were having a conversation and it just happened to come up.
I was explaining how I had woken up that fateful day and lost part of myself, my abilities, my memories. I didn't know who my husband was, we'd only been married 3 months. And one of the ladies asked me about falling in love with someone I had forgotten, asking if we 'dated' again, or how it was that we rebuilt what I had lost. The best I could answer was that while my brain had forgotten, me heart had not. I didn't know him, but I knew he was supposed to be there (if that makes sense).
So how do you fall in love with someone you've forgotten but who hasn't forgotten they love you?
How do you 'date' when you can't leave the house easily? When dressing yourself is a huge challenge? Eating almost resembles a crime scene and you have the concentration span of a 3 year old?
I guess it happens in the simple things, the simple ways that say "I love you, I know you don't know me yet, but I do." Tucking me in for the night. Listening to me stutter and stumble my way through just one page of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (that took me between 15-20 minutes for just one page). Taking responsibility for the chores. Working a full day, commuting 2 hours home and picking up from the last carer and being the responsible adult until the next carer could help out the next morning. Being patient and understanding. Learning new ways of communicating with me. Not telling me the answer, helping me find it myself. Drying my tears. Holding my hand on the stairs. Praising my efforts to regain lost skills.
Not rushing things. Taking everything slowly, understanding that sensation had changed for me, that hugs weren't always pleasant things. Knowing that I tired easily, that days of carefree newlyweds were over and may never come back.
Sticking by me, not knowing what the future may hold. Not knowing if I'd ever regain the memories, the abilities, the strength.
Not leaving when things got hard.
Not leaving when times were tough.
I know people talk about the "lightning strike" moments, the wonderful days of dating and discovering. Those things were lost to me.
Falling in love again was a slow process, and it happened in all the ordinary ways. There were no exciting days out, no dim movie theatres, or climbing harbour bridges, or candlelit dinners.
It was just simply getting through a single day at a time.
I often think of the Disney movie "Up" and the relationship of Mr Fredrickson and his wife, how they simply "were" together. Calm and natural and peaceful. Of how when things got hard they stuck by each other.
And that's the ticket for true love: sticking by your partner when things get hard.