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  • Writer's picturergummere

Misty Mornings

Honestly, you just never know.

That is to say, things can happen without warning.

I'm currently back in North Carolina, in these beautiful old grandmother mountains I dearly love, because my son-in-law severed two fingers in a wood shop accident a couple weeks ago. He underwent an 8-hour surgery to reattach one finger, lost the other. Banged up Mr. Ring Finger pretty badly, broke it and needed skin grafts. Thumb needed stitches and other repair.

I'm here to help out however I can. The way back is...well, we all know, those of us who have lived through life-altering events, there is no way back. There is only forward. The young man, Jimmy, forges ahead, all intent and as much humor as he can muster in the midst of ongoing and serious pain and the reality of the loss. The young woman, my daughter, is equally determined, fiercely devoted to his well-being and healing. My son, who lives here, too, stands ready to do whatever is necessary.

They'll be okay. It will just be a while, and there is this new terrain to traverse first. Woodworking is my son-in-law's passion. It has has been his only source of income. So many unknowns. Will the reattached finger survive? So far so good. There is blood flow and movement. Will he regain mobility? Time will tell.

Mornings, I sit out on their deck and listen to the mist dripping off the leaves of the hardwoods in the forest surrounding their house. Two deer and a spotted fawn regularly traverse the property, but it is early yet for them. A hummingbird zips to the feeder emitting tiny clipped chirps, keeping a dark, wary eye on me as its long, thin tongue laps up sugar water. The dogs - my Beasley and three other goobers, Ellie May, Zeke, and Banjo, that belong to my daughter and son-in-law - snort on the other side of the sliding glass door until I let them out with me, then snort at the sliding glass door until I let them back inside. The cat sits calmly watching it all.

It is hard to be still. I want to fix everything. I wish for a magic wand to rewind time. I want to hit the "Undo" button. So I come out here in the mornings, when the mist hangs like gauze, and sip my coffee and let my shoulders unclench for a bit. Let the world spin on its axis. Let my breath remind me. There are no guarantees. We are so breakable, it's frightening.

Still. There has been this outpouring. Donations to their medical fund from friends and strangers. Meals brought. Cards and letters. Stories shared, sympathy offered. Prayers spoken again and again. We are breakable, but we are very much not alone, and that makes all the difference. We have each other to walk with through the hard times. Sometimes we're even carried.

Then, on the other side of it all, we turn and offer a hand to the next one in need.

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