“table for one”

milky water

The picture above is of the bay–while driving across it a few days ago, the look of the water struck me; it looked like a sea of milk and not the salty water we normally identify with the ocean. As soon as I saw it as a sea of milk, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace come over me.

These days, the bridge has taken on a new sheen multiple times. Maybe it’s the new paths in my brain examining the usual things in my life from a slightly different vantage point, funneling new paths and perspectives. Of course I don’t think the ocean is composed of milk, but one can imagine, no?

My life is full of new perspectives these days–in some ways these new perspectives are expected, because someone recovering from a stroke or other ailment will always forget forge new paths. And of course, I’m trying to glean lessons from this entire experience: living in the moment, the idea of humility, and oh, the other lessons that I cannot remember but of course I know will return to me. But sometimes the perspectives are surprising.

Today, I had lunch by myself in a restaurant. Now, I could have lunch with myself at any point in my life, but somehow it took a stroke to open up my mind up to the possibility of sitting alone in a restaurant. I had gotten my blood drawn, picked up a prescription, and on impulse, bought a pair of shoes. I was walking back to my car when I passed by a new restaurant–I paused. And then I walked right in. I had been wanting to try this place out, and for some reason, that seemed like the right time. Nevermind that I had no one to eat lunch with.

Hell, at the very least, I figured I would then NOT forget to eat today.

I was pondering my appetite and its strange absence in my life as I ordered from the menu. There were plenty of delicious things on the menu, but somehow none of them pierced my psyche. In a previous life, before the stroke, I would have imagined how each dish tasted, and had quite a fun time choosing on a dish. In fact, I would have been salivating.

Instead, I found myself coldly evaluating each item, ultimately picking something surprising, at least for me: a hamburger.

While waiting for the food, and eating the food, I found an incredible space clearing in my head. Dining alone in public was strange but incredibly refreshing; I wrote in my notebook, checked my blackberry for email, and felt a weird sense of peace and space.

And I actually felt normal. I didn’t feel like a dumbed out stroke victim, and in fact, my brain unravelled and wandered in a way that actually made sense. I reviewed the days past, and realized a few things.

I have not mentioned it on this blog, but I am supposed to host a baby shower for a friend. I volunteered to do it before my stroke, despite my anxieties about baby showers in general. But then the stroke hit–and my friend has been asking me if I’m “really sure” I want to do it.

I have been insisting that I’ve been fine and that I can totally host this baby shower.

During lunch, I realized that I am NOT fine, and should not host the baby shower. All throughout my cardiologist appointment yesterday, I kept thinking about the baby shower and worried about how heart surgery might interfere with baby shower planning. I realized that that is an odd thought during lunch. I really should be prioritizing my healing and health first, and not be focused on shedule conflicts with my heart surgery. And that I cannot be in a room full of strangers and expected to socialize–talking to a bunch of people, especially people I do not know, is a sure-fire way to burn my brain out.

What was I doing?

During this lunch, in which I created so much space for myself, I came to the conclusion that I just could not host this party. It’s hard to face the reality of my own limitations, I guess.

Like I’ve written before–I think I’m normal until I run into something that reminds me that I am not healed yet.



Filed under Life, The Stroke

10 responses to ““table for one”

  1. mel

    hey jade…it sounds like you had another, better day. (umm, you did mention shoes – j/k) i agree it’s hard to face limitations, but it seems like it’s freeing as well. if you don’t feel like you can host that shower, then you should not.

    I’m glad you had an afternoon of normalcy.

    thinking of you and hoping you’re well.

  2. I think it’s wonderful that you sat down somewhere quiet, cleared your mind and your Blackberry, ate a good meal and realised that hosting the baby shower would not be a good thing for you. You are making the time to listen to your intuition. I think it’s a positive sign.

    I love the picture of the milky sea, by the way.

  3. PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH, to speed along your continuing recovery. Hee.

  4. I like your new perceptions Jade. Water can be like milk…very nuturing and peaceful. Glad you had/did both while eating alone. Another connection to your inner self.

  5. Your writing is amazing these days, Jade. And today’s experience sounds clear, true, and serene. It’s as if you’ve taken up deep meditation.

    Keep on taking care of yourself. You are doing a great job.

  6. Even unstroked, I find it very empowering to decide not to do things; bizarrely, even more so than if I had just said no in the beginning, w/o taking time to think about it.

  7. I feel like I’m reading a book in installments; every chapter is interesting and takes me to a new place. Hooray for your solitary lunch; hooray for seeing things in new ways at every turn.

    I think I eat lunch in restaurants by myself more often than I do with other people. (dinners, not so much) It started when I did home health care; I’d stop for lunch in between patients. Even now, I go out for lunch by myself more often than with others. Call me if and when next time you want lunch company!

  8. Having lunch alone is pretty normal to me, to the point where having lunch with other people is something I only do occasionally.

    I agree that reading this is like a book in installments. A good book. You’ve mentioned a desire to write again… but you’re already writing fascinating stuff. Keep on, Jade, keep on.

    BTW, ChaEsq, Peanut butter sandwiches are okay, but are always improved by the inclusion of sliced bananas.

  9. >BTW, ChaEsq, Peanut butter sandwiches are okay, but are always improved by the inclusion of sliced bananas.

    Ewww. If I was dead, I’d roll over in my grave.

  10. Yay. You found your happy place.

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