The need to speak my mind, and the heartache of not being able to, has only made the moment more palpable, more intense and full of emotion. But no amount of emotion is going to change my circumstances. No matter how hard I try, I can’t speak the words I want to say.
Each fall, for the last few years, I've lived on edge, hoping a major wildfire doesn't strike where I live and force me to choose between the lesser of two evils--stay and risk dying in my home or evacuate and risk making myself sicker and getting injured.
Telling myself to not take my health for granted has always been a mental game I've played, an affirmation, perhaps even a mantra that I've repeated to make myself feel better about the fact that scary stuff can happen to anybody, at any time.
I could see all kinds of things that I had missed when I was stuck in my bed. I could feel the breeze swirling around me; I could see hummingbirds buzzing around a tree branch above the roof. I didn't realize it until later, but it was the first time I had been outside in two years.
One of the most memorable events in Serena’s life after she entered adulthood began by sliding down a set of stairs on a mattress. Children do this for fun, sure, but Serena was 18 — an adult — and by no means was she having fun. She was trying to see a doctor.