...quiet, about a lot of things...
Monday, September 10, 2007
Some Posts are Harder Than Others
Margo, my friend.
I'm back from another clinic for the US Equestrian Federation. This one was held in Seattle, at a therapeutic riding center. I had been looking forward to this trip, culminating with the first memorial dressage show honoring my friend Margo.
I met Margo only once. She became my friend instantly. She had been a healthy happy woman of 29, teaching, living and I am sure laughing. Then she had a massive stroke. Her right side was severely affected. Her speech was all but gone. Her life had changed forever.
But instead of giving up, she got on a horse. She changed lives, paradigms and programs. She cried and giggled and grew and thrived for another 30 years.
She was killed,18 months ago, at Christmas time, by a drunk driver.She left one party, and was going on to another. She had her white papillon, her constant companion with her, both dying that night.
In reflection, I realize that she lived half of her life able bodied, and exactly half disabled. This strikes me as oddly balanced.
She and I are (were) both "hemi's". Hemiplegia is a condition where there is paralysis or spasticity in one vertical half of a patient's body. Hers was drastic, mine very minute in comparison.
She could still speak a few words, which she tended to group in threes. When I met her, I assumed she was just another shy, withdrawn disabled person...but I did notice that she smiled a lot...so I gathered my courage...(seems I was was the shy one..not her...)and introduced myself..she grabbed my hand with warmth and camaraderie.
I said things to her over those two days, I rarely said to anyone. Certainly I had never said them to people in my horse world.. Things like I get tired....and frustrated...and that I hate my right side sometimes...I live in a constant state of betrayal and I feel ugly....She was sharp as a tack and had the most empathetic eyes. Those eyes said the things she could not. But she would say.."I know, I know, I know...".Then she would point at my left side...my strong side and say ..."Oh boy, Oh boy, OH BOY!"
I looked at my weakness, she looked at my strength.
I saw her as a glorious giant. She was this enormous magnificent, willful, strong spirit. In physical reality..she was 4'11...and probably 100lbs...tiny..just like me. Maybe that's why, I looked at her and saw myself. But I saw in her the beauty I could not find in myself. She beamed life. Full force. Without apologies.
She became my hero. She will always be my hero.
This last weekend, I rode down center line to honor her. I saluted the Judge at C...and in my heart, I saluted Margo....I will continue to salute her each and every day of my life.