On the fourth of July, 2007 Caleb Potter was involved in a skateboarding accident.
He suffered serious injuries and continues to need all of our positive thoughts and prayers.
This blog is to serve as a space for updates on Caleb's journey of recovery.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bargaining with God is tough and too labor intensive for me to keep up much longer. You know the kind of talk ...it goes something like this ..." I promise to do.... if only you will give me ". On a conscious level, I would say that I never plea bargain, but I do catch myself time and time again asking for the clock of time to turn back, for the screen door not to slam shut behind me, closing out all that I had before as I beg for one final chance to change this whole mess around. It is unbearable to realize that my life has changed as I knew it. It is hard to know that my conversations with Caleb will never be what they were before. It is hard to imagine that he is gone in that way. To me he was the purest distillation. He was my comfort and my peace...he stood for all that was innocent and new...he was my little red wagon.
We are moving forward and I am keeping my eyes opened for possibilities of healing. We are doing the very best we can under the circumstances which we have been given. Like it? Not one bit..but bear it, we do!
It's amusing to think that we can be brave when we are so frightened, confident when we are weak, smiling when we are crushed. I think that this is what this is all about for us--life has changed dramaticallly, we don't know which end is up as we tumble through the gauntlet of emotions each day that threaten to beat us down...and all the while we fight to regain our stability.
Life sometimes wears very little lipstick!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

An e-mail from Kai...
Hello mum.
Finally just got your email. I've just come from 3 hrs of surfing a big, clean fun wave and am salty and crusty. I am doing well and enjoying my time- but still all I think of is home and caleb and all of us- as if it would be wrong for me not to do so. And this is ok- beacause I will think of it no matter where I am. This is not a bad thing- to think- I have some distance and perhaps, hopefully, some new perspective. It was so good to talk to Caleb last night (a.m. for you). He sounded really good, clear and spoke more fluidly than the last time I spoke with him. He said, "I sound better than I really am"- that saddened me. It all does. There is no escape form it- I did not come here to run from it, but to examine it all. I am well. We are getting good surf and everyone is getting along well. I love you and miss you. Heal up. Talk to you soon.

Caleb. I love to hear your voice over the phone because I miss it- waking me up in the morning or asking where your dinner is at night. All I can think of when I am here is having you here with me and how much fun we would have. I see you in so many places here. I sometimes have a hard time when I'm talking to people because the things they say seem so fake and unimportant. You never wasted words- even when you were joking around and I always love talking with you. When you are feeling better and more healed- we will come to some warm place and swim in some clear green water. Caleb- I have always felt closer to you than any other living thing. I felt I could tell you anything- without even saying a word you would understand me. Like I told you the other morning, it breaks my heart a thousand times every day when I think of you getting hurt, and the struggle that you face every day- just to get through the day. I am amazed at how strongly you turn into the storm winds that rage against you- head on and pushing farther and farther with each step. Caleb, you were hurt so badly that parts of you were taken from you- and I miss those parts so deeply- but I love you and and as I promised in the hospital- I will always be your little brother and I swear to help you with anything you need for the rest of our lives. I will always help you heal in anyway I can. I love you. Your little brother Kai.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

We are coming along fine. Caleb is holding on to the thought that Kai is in Bali..that is new to him, to be able to remember from one day to the next. He is still busy with his traditional healings and unconventional healings as well. Gym two times per week, walking everyday, we will begin swimming in a week or so, yoga and massage plus acupuncture are his regulars. Game night continues on Wed. He has been asked to practice with the world music ensemble once a week..he drums...I listen.
He had a re-birthing last week and when asked to give his consent after describing what we were going to do....mimicking the moments right after he came into the world....Caleb paused and then said " there's no way I'm gonna get naked." So he is cracking us up as well as "doin his thing."

Kai is calling almost every three days..he is missing his brother and we are working on his letting go of guilt for being away...It doesn't help that Caleb always says " lucky bastard" to Kai each time he calls, but oh well. They are finally getting some epic waves so that should help him forget about us for awhile.

Max is busy readying the apt. for his move which should be in about a week or so. After so long a time, life is beginning to feel almost downright normal for a change.

Acceptance is in the air, tucked in the corner of a smile, in the blue of a twinkling eye, in the beating of a heart. My heart is softer now, not so pained all the time. We have rounded a corner. Life has thrown this dasterdly bump in the road and we went flinging off into the ditch for a bit... but now we are up, having dusted off our skin and have discovered that all the bruses and bleedings have only made us stronger. We are determined to be the best damned family we can be and to do one turn better-- to be happy.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The first fire was at Otto McGrady's. The next one burned down Harold and Marion's barn just a pace down the road. It was thought that arsonist's had started them, but in Ohio it could just have easily been one of those blaring lightning bolts that hit often and offensively. As a kid, my father would gather us all into the old heap of a car and off we would go to see if we could be of any help, and for what I suspected was more about watching a thing of terror and a thing beauty similtaneously. Fire.

I have a love of fire that stems from those barn burnings. I am drawn like a clock is to time. Once the boys told me when they were in gradeschool the sirens went off a blazing and fire engines pulled out of the station in what promised to be a grand fire somewhere. The kids just turned to mine in the playground and said " oh it's probably just your ma with her brush fire." It has been a long standing understanding that when I "pass" the boys are to toss me on top of our burn pile. By the time the engines arrive I will be just a pile of thoughts.

I get this love of fire from my mother, no doubt, who set an entire field on fire" burnin" the trash on a windy day and I watched in horror as my eyelashes floated down onto my writing paper like fine ashes the day after I battled yet another field fire with my brother and sisters. We would grab empty feed bags to beat out the flames. The flames often won.

The fire burns now in the stove as I sit with Caleb and read to him and with the very same intention set forth as a burning fire ...I set my intention for him. To sweep forward without looking back with regret over what is lost.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I know that "they " say that bad luck runs in threes..and tho I don't like to think of myself as a believer of hocus pokus...that thought...it has danced in my head. So now that I have a little bent-up left arm in a sling like a little broken birdy wing...I feel happier knowing we have hit that lucky number. Perhaps we can rest easy. I found myself face up within seconds of hitting an ice patch and staring up into Caleb's face who looked slightly bemused and bewildered with my state. .....lying flat on my back, writhing in pain.
Now I know that you will think me certifiable crazy, but I am glad that I pulled a ligament and that I suffered through the night. It has had a profound effect on me...First it has made me even more compassionate about what all Caleb has gone through to get to where he is today...and secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it has allowed to help me stop beating myself up over the why's. Why did Caleb fall off that skateboard..why when he was so sure footed ? As I was falling it was like trying to catch smoke..nothing to grab onto.....and down I went with no other choice but to plummet, and now I know that he too must have experienced that feeling..and I get it.
My friend Anne and I have been discussing pain in our collective lives and pain that we see in others..and we were talking about how all of us have a choice each and every day to choose to be happy or not - no matter what the circumstances....almost in spite of the circumstances.
So just for today I am going to rub my little broken wing and treat it tenderly and bless it for giving me another chance to choose .

Saturday, January 10, 2009

missing him

The saliva swirls around the chocolate nut piece I just flipped into my mouth as I mull and ruminate. Kai has contacted me and is safely in Bali and on his way to Sumatra Surf heaven. I miss him and worry about him, especially when he tells me that in every sunset he sees Caleb's face and is having a hard time letting go. I remind him to stay the course and be strong, all the while that I remember that it is the largest tree that falls the hardest. I am trying to guide him in a way that I am totally uncertain of myself. Like the river, we are swollen with high expectations of where Caleb can go, yet at the same time we see fractured light, as the reality of who he is settles in.
This family is just a group of ordinary people trying to do the best we can in tough times and our compassion grows as our lives slip into what feels like a new dress which does not quite fit. It is flimsy and uncomfortable.
Caleb is improving..and as I said I am ever so hopeful for him...but I miss him. I miss his laugh, his smile, his fresh and funny outlook on life, his tenderness. I miss our interactions and I miss the skip of my heart as I watch his truck drive into the drive, knowing that we were always in for a surprise. He was quirky and comfortable.
There is a blown up picture of him which sits in front of my computer and as I gaze into his eyes and I fall into his smile I remember......
His half moon face, his slightly crooked teeth, his 5'o'clock shadow , his piercings up and down the ear...but mostly I remember the warmth, the kindness and his love. I was fortunate to have this love and like a true gift he gave it with no expectation. Late at night I still call his cell phone to listen to him speak to me, even if only for a second, in the voice I remember as Caleb. We struggle forward and slip backwards and inch toward a new day.
Please know that I am grateful, please know that I am glad he still remains, please know I am pleased that all of you are with us.......and please understand that I miss him with all my heart.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Kai to Bali

When you have loved... and then lost, two very distinct things happen...at least for me it has been so. You learn to love a bit harder...but the letting go becomes harder as well. It is 4 a.m. and we just opened the door and watched Kai walk away, back pack slung over the shoulder and the more important board bag in hand. ..... In the past that simple move would have been full of excited anticipation and high hopes...now it is mixed in with a large dose of fear. When you have loved and then lost it is to be expected I suppose. In a way the rawness is good , in a way it is just raw. I don't take for granted any longer that Kai will go away and come back to us..or come back at all. I hate this fear hanging around my neck like a dead weight...,it threatens to pull me down and I resist while it persists. And it remains.
Kai knows this feeling too...and as he hugs me goodbye, we lock eyes and ever so swiftly and I read all the pain in them and the concern and the wishing and the hopes.
He has hugged Max upstairs. Lizzie and I stand together... ..we know this drill well...and Caleb has dragged himself out of bed to exclaim "You lucky bastard" and to make us all laugh as he would have always done...so the scene emerges and is reminiscent of past times..one boy or another going out the door at an unGodly hour..all of us waiting in the wings.....and when it is my turn..I want to hold him and never let him go......but I open my arms....... and he walks out the door.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

And a Happy New Year it is so far.....Caleb and I managed to stay up tll 11:00 pm, while the rest of the tribe who celebrated here went off to a party in town.

Caleb is still improving --his laughter which bubbles through from time to time, is so lovely to hear..that was always Caleb's trademark. We are going to the gym twice a week together, walking an hour each day, he was back on his bike before the snow hit, we have game night each Wed., he is sleeping and eating well....and his memory is starting to re-circuit and re-route so that each day we see signs of success. I am thinking that as I fight the urge to be sad, I would not want this time to be wasted being dour when, say for instance in 8 years Caleb is doing really well, and I would have passed over precious time that could have been spent in a much better way. So I am trying to stay focused on the positive which we are given each day..and not the everyday facts that glare back at us, tempting us to bite the bait of being forelorn.

Kai leaves in a couple of days for Bali, soon after that Max will be moving out...so this will be a big change for all of us in this New Year. I have been blessed to have had son's who adore me and like hanging out with me..this will be different for me to not have them near.......so I am going to use this time to concentrate on Caleb and myself, getting our healthy selves back in shape, losing about 5 pounds of blubber each and walking the woods for our peace of mind. I look forward to the opportunity to just have him one on one...and to see what new things we can think up to keep ourselves occupied in a suddenly all too quiet household.

In all, we are setting our intentions for the New Year...to love more, laugh louder and longer, live independently and heal together. Blessings to you, Sharyn