Monday, August 17, 2009

Brooke's first (written) words

The dissociative episode of a couple of days ago passed and hasn’t recurred; Brooke attributes it to not having been eating enough for some days. He was really low; he said he’d even been thinking of starving himself. Then Polly, the anthropologist friend who’d remarked about the similarity of the hot-and-cold feelings to what you experience in malaria, came for dinner that night. She brought grilled chicken, grilled salmon, absolutely wonderful grilled eggplant. Brooke loved it. In fact, there’s no other word for it: he pigged out. And he’s been fine ever since.
And here’s a real sign of progress, thanks to one of his therapists a few days ago: his first written words. You can see his first circles, then his name and mine, with a heart. These are made with his left hand, a real beginning in fine motor control. Brooke had said something a long time ago about recovering capacities the way an infant does; here’s just what a young child would be doing, except that the heart couldn’t mean quite as much to a little kid.


Lorraine Seal said...

Brooke and Peggy

It’s fantastic to see Brooke’s first writing! It seems like real progress that he has the fine motor skills to control the pen. And it’s wonderfully touching to see what he has written in his first attempt.

I started writing something in response to your post about the days drawing in but set it aside without finishing it. I had wanted to tell you how our days are drawing in too. Given our northern latitude, however, here it means that instead of light over the mountains to the north at 10:30 or 11, it is now dark enough to close the blinds at 9:30 or 10. In midsummer, I can read the analog clock in the bedroom at 5 am; this morning the light seeping in under the blinds didn’t rouse me until after 6. One feels the autumn coming on with some dread of winter’s dark. Watching the swallows dance over the rough field out the back, I regret the day, not far off, when they will have abandoned us for Africa.

Now though, early in the morning until late in the evening, we hear the drone of machinery in the fields beyond the hedges. Even in the dark, tractors thunder along the narrow road past our house, headlamps illuminating the tunnel between the hedges. Daytimes, I can’t see them as they traverse the golden fields, but the sound cheers and encourages me.

This has been another wet summer, with record-breaking rain in July. But August has been for the most part dry, and the monotonous drone tells me the farmers –- our neighbours –- are able to get the grain in. At this time last year we watched as the oats and barley drooped and then flattened under the pounding of relentless rain. When harvested, a farmer cousin told us that the wet grain mouldered in the storehouse. So it gives me hope, even when the bleak mood descend, to hear the rumble of the combines or see the tractors pass pulling trailers loaded high with cylinders of new straw.

As it brings hope to see Brooke’s first writings and see in them the simple expression the love for each other you share. This after the terrifying dissociation of the other day and the knowledge of the emotional struggles you are both enduring, Brooke’s profound discouragement and what must be deep pain for Peggy as she see it. It’s wonderful that friends are able to sustain you with good food and more to help ground you in the pleasures of life as you battle your way forward. I wish I could be there to bring you something too, but you are never far from my thoughts.

with love,

Jen said...

Brooke and Peggy,

Seeing Brooke's writing and reading your post brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. What a wonderful step forward! And I'm glad to know that you like brownies....I have some really wonderful chocolate so I will call to get an answer to the crucial question: In terms of texture, cake-like (with good crumb) or dense and fudgey?


Jen Gully

norm said...

What tremendous courage both of you have, and a persistent stamina.

Seeing these wonderful childlike words, your first writing in 10 months, is so joyous -- especially after the scary day last Saturday.

Grilled chicken, salmon and eggplant.....Definitely wonder drugs.

with love