Thursday, December 11, 2008

Before and After

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The other day, Robb and I were at a party, and it struck me that there was only one person in attendance who knew Robb before he broke his back.

I've been giving a lot of thought to the fact that most of the people we know in California never met the Robb who was an actor, or a hiker. They never went paddling with me and Robb, or ran around on the beach with us. They never knew Robb as the nimble, agile guy who could do anything.

As I said, I've been thinking about this a lot. But I haven't arrived at any particular wisdom. My thought process has been more like probing at a sore tooth with my tongue. Poke poke poke. Feels weird and uncomfortable, and I can't stop myself.

Obviously, everyone changes over time. And Robb is still changing, as am I. But I guess I'm not entirely at peace with the change that was thrust upon us.

I still don't think of Robb as the guy with the paralyzed legs. Sure, that's a part of who he is, but it is only a small part. At least for me.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

You take wonderful pictures and tell an interesting account of your journey of change. My sister was killed by a drunk driver and our cousin (in the back seat) is paralyzed still. (I wish he'd had a marriage that could have survived the changes...for some of the support he might have gotten if things had been different.)
I understand a little about not recognizing when the change becomes the norm. My sister and I looked a lot alike - at least to strangers. I feel guilty when 25 years of change in my mirror reminds them of the loss of their friend. I feel guilty because my 25 year old daughters' birthdays have been measured for a moment at least by her mother's loss of a sister.
I've wondered lately if a different picture in your blog title would better represent the changes of NOW for you both. Because you take wonderful pictures and you are more than a x-ray highlighting change. Loss. Struggle. (*Your heart is not a stone)

wcedar said...

These seem like thoughts one has at all times of life as we age..thinking of a long term relationship and that your partner is really the one who holds the memories with you and of you, and I think that is sometimes part of the glue that holds it together, and a lot of the grief when it is gone...
I mean my partner remembers me when I was l20 pounds and naked on the beach, which would be a stretch now....on the lighter side...lol

drkaty said...

My big brother broke his neck and suffered a head trauma when I was nine. I was horrible to him for a while when he still couldn't get around easily, taking his stuff and running about the room with it, taunting him. I asked my mom a few years ago why she let me do that. Her response: because he's brother and that's how siblings interact sometimes. She worked really hard to make sure that I never thought of him as my handicapped big brother, just as my big brother. I guess it worked because a few years ago a friend of mine met my brother for the first time and turned to me in amazement, saying that she had imagined my brother very differently because the stories I tell of him didn't sound, to her, like someone who was handicapped.

Ladyaero said...

Each of us will get to know the other people in our lives (or on our computers) in certain contexts, and it will shape how we see them (I remember seeing my 2nd grade teacher at the grocery store once and was totally freaked out to see that she had a life outside of school). What you may not realize is that, even though we read this blog (mostly 'cause you are such interesting storytellers and your pictures are lovely), each of us will have our own contexts for Robb that don't necessarily reflect "before" and "after." For me, you two will always be "Lisa and Robb, the Letterboxers", not "Lisa and Robb the Letterboxers, one of whom has a spinal cord injury." So, whether people knew you before or after the accident won't necessarily change their context for you, "That creative, dynamic couple."
Emily (Ladyaero, long dormant amateur letterboxer)

ellen said...

Life is full of "before and after" changes. It seems like most of those big changes are brought on by something hard that you never in a million years expected to have to do. The bright side seems to be that the challenge makes you stronger, but I'll bet you anything most people would not choose to be stronger at such a cost. I for one am ready for something both life changing and fun - like winning the lottery!

Hope your trip went well and your holidays are wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Gal, unless Robb has grown an extra weirdo mystery head somewhere that I don't know about, he's not that different.

But if he DOES grow one of those magnificantly unusual growths, be sure and let me poke it with a stick. And take pictures of it for your blog readers.

Annalisa

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you may think a life changing event such as the one experienced by Robb, might change a person, might alert them to the things in life that are truly important, prehaps previously overlooked. Often external forces prevents this from happening. Sometimes a good can come from such a unfortunate occurance, yet again, not.

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