You know when others say the lights went out in his eyes – or refer to the sparkle in someones eyes? I have seen it before. But a few days ago I saw it come and then go again. A friend of mine had a two strokes a few years ago. The first left him half paralysed and unable to speak but he recovered fully. unfortunately after the second stroke it was only his speech that was recovered.
I can’t help but wonder if the training he does or does not do is the culprit behind his non-recovered ability to use his left side. That is not what I want to concentrate on although it does add to the lost twinkle. Before his stroke he was an active man. Active both physically and creatively. He has shown me some of his artwork, paintings and carvings that he filled his free time with. It was a hobby, work and supporting his family financially never really allowed time for the pursuing of his hobbies to be full-time.
Now, he doesn’t dare start a creative project. He has personal assistants that help with his daily life and training. He could have help setting up an artistic adventure but he doesn’t dare. I took up my courage and asked him why?
We talked for about an hour. I asked what he would like to do, or even if he would like to draw or paint again? No, he said. Because he can’t do it with just one hand. NO, because he doesn’t want to fail. No, because he will never be able to finish his once started projects and carvings with just one working hand.
Something new then? Like what, he asked me. I don’t know, water colors? Neither of us are good at that, they are hard to paint with so lets start with just mixing colors, finding things we like. Shapes or something abstract no one can judge. Or, painting on wood, scraps or already made items, I don’t know something!
He looked at me, with a sparkle in his eye. We were outside on the patio, smoke rising from his cigarette. Only the little patio light above us to reflect this sparkle. He looked out at the garden, up at the trees and into the star-studded cloudless night. It was as if time stopped, I just watch him as if I could see his brain at work considering the things we had been talking about for the last hour. I was excited to hear the project that we could maybe start on, to maybe be part of his new beginning so many years later. To hear of something he wanted to do, develop, experience besides the hum drum must do to survive things! He took another puff, and he looked back towards me.
“It’s gone.” He said, and the sparkle went out. The light in his eyes actually went out. “That time is gone. I don’t want to do anything, it’s to late.”
The moment was gone. I knew I shouldn’t question him again so I didn’t. I felt the sadness in the air. I waited, as he looked out into the darkness, scanning the night for something. The I asked him what he was thinking about.
“Just trying to remember the name of that type of bird we saw earlier.” he replied without looking at me. And that was it. The end of the twinkle that was so short-lived. The hope of working back to where he once was in his life, was gone.
- Local support group helps those with spinal cord injuries (wcnc.com)
- Power Wheelchairs (powersoccertalia.wordpress.com)
- CARING SANTA: Making Tradition Easier For Kids (whotv.com)
- Wheelchair B-Ball Coming To Farnam? (newhavenindependent.org)