I never would have imagined that almost one year exactly
after my Father’s death, I would be using one of his canes.
Daddy used canes for years, because of an injury when in was in the Navy. He had been an athlete in highschool and was recruited to be a pitcher, but he hurt his arm and couldn’t pitch any longer.
After a few years of college, he went into the Navy, where he acquired an injury to his upper vertebra. He was a large, vibrant man, and it wasn’t until later in his life that he needed to use a cane to steady his walk. While in the Navy, Dad flew, but he was also on a submarine… and going from the different altitudes wrecked havoc on him. He told me stories about being in the Navy infirmary and how alone he felt.
Healing is an alone process…
Through the years, I would buy him antique, or usual canes for gifts. He had quite a collection.
After he died last year on April 6th, I got some of his canes. I put the black one with the silver handle leaning in a corner of my powder room. Each time, I would see it, it would give me the feeling that Dad was in my house watching over me.
On April 25th, I had an accident. I slipped and fell on an unmarked wet, concrete floor in a local wine bar, breaking my left elbow and and creating a hairline fracture in my left hip. (‘unmarked, wet floor, wine bar wounded warrior’… not really funny, but..)
I was on crutches for a bit. And how horrible are those things?! While I needed to ‘baby’ my left hip completely for awhile, using the crutches threw my walking gait off. After starting rehab to strengthen my left leg, I decide to toss the crutches and to use my Father’s cane. And even though, he was 6’2″ and I am 5’3″, it works for me.
It is exactly what I need right now. It offers support, while I strengthen my left leg to regain my natural walking gait. And while using it, I feel so close to my Dad.
Each step I take to regain my natural walk and balance, my Dad is with me. Just like when I was taking my first steps, and my Dad encouraged, balanced and guided me as I learned to walk, he is here with me now. My parents told me, I learned to walk at nine months and after I did, that I ran everywhere… Mother could barely keep up with me.
Now, I rest my hand on the same silver handle that my Dad used for years.
Dad used to tell me he loved to watch me walk and move. I have a fast walk, and he told me he loved the energy of my fast-pace.
I was blessed to be born with my Dad’s will of iron, to keep on keeping on. It’s one of my greatest gifts from him.
Mom used to say, you and your Father are just alike, both have heads as thick as a brick wall…”stubborn as can be.” When Mom would say this, usually, when she was irritated at one, or the both of us, Dad and I would look at each other shrug and smile. Dad and I are/were alot alike and our hard heads could butt in real style…
But actually, that ‘stubborn will’ served/serves us well at times…
As I go about dealing with this ordeal, I can hear my Dad’s words as I push, falter, get frustrated, scared, then keep on… “Keep at it tiger. You can do it. I am here with you. I am proud of you.”
Dad was a wounded warrior and my accident and what it takes to recover has given me a new appreciation for what it is to deal with and recover from physical trauma.
Dad, I promise with the help of your cane, with your eyes and energy from above watching over me, and with the grace of God, I will regain the walk I was born to have and that you loved to watch.
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