Monday, November 22, 2010

When I Get To Heaven I'm Gonna Wear High Heels

Last Saturday I had a delightful visit with Nan Wahle (pictured above). Nan and I 'met' when I was a guest on the Jordan Rich show. We were in the middle of the trivia contest to win a copy of my book of inspirational poetry and Nan called in. JR was told that she is the mother of Scott Wahle, former reporter at WBZ and a dear friend of JR's. Actually I don't know anyone who is not a dear friend of JR. He loves the world and the world loves him. She mentioned that she is a polio survivor dealing with post polio syndrome. Of course we became fast friends and I had to meet her in person.

She lives in an assisted living. Her apartment is filled with dolls. She explained to my husband and me that she was in bed for 6 months after having had corrective surgery on her feet after being stricken with polio. She and her friends would play dolls. I could have really used a friend like Nan when I was dealing with polio but what a blessing that we are now dear friends. We reminisced about our polio experiences and then talked about post polio syndrome. She was in awe that I am able to run and that I ran the Boston Marathon. She asked me how it was possible. She recalled that Dr. Julie Silver, who wrote the book on Post Polio Syndrome told her to not exercise lest she burn out her remaining neurons. She said she was so inspired that I did not take that advice and states that perhaps if she would have done more when she was my age (almost 57) she might have more mobility. She experiences a lot of pain and limited use of her arms and legs yet there she sits with incredible grace and dignity talking of God, faith, spirituality and....reading from my poetry books.

She said that my poetry has blessed her life and that she is planning to take the books with her to the dining room and read to the other residents, many of whom have 'given up'. She read my poem "Growing Old" and I told her that when I come back for my next visit, I am going to bring a tape recorder and have her record my poems. My husband said we'll put them on the website. She was delighted! In the middle of our conversation Nan said, "When I get to heaven, I'm gonna wear high heels". I grabbed her hand and said you know it sister. We talked about always needing corrective footwear and never being able to wear high heels.

She told me that the doctors told her mother that she would never walk again nor regain use of her right arm. With a sparkle in her eye she said but my mother and I wouldn't take no for an answer. Her mother took her for aqua therapy and here she met 'an angel of a physical therapist' who was able to help her regain all of her functioning. She said she used to dance and walk and felt wonderful until post polio took its toll on her body. Despite her limitations, her soul flies free and she is truly an inspiration. We inspired each other on this fall afternoon in Hingham, Massachusetts. Two women though decades apart in age shared a moment in time. Two women who had experienced a part of history now forgotten in the United States. Two women whose bodies were wracked with pain and struggle but whose spirits could never be dampened. One woman who was able to overcome the ravages of post polio syndrome and give hope and possibility to the other woman encouraging her to ask for physical therapy and to also explore massage therapy and other healing arts. When it came time to leave I knew that I would return for another afternoon of being present with each other, enjoying the love, light and laughter and remembering that no matter what happens, the essence of our Be-ing can never be changed.

I am a member of the "Red High Heel Club" with Carolyn Kruse on Country 102.5. It's ladies night out and so much fun. Everyone wears red high heels - except me. But it's fine because like Nan I know that when I get to heaven I'm gonna wear {red} high heels!

If you would like to experience the beauty of my poetry, visit my website and order autographed copies of my books! Just in time for the holidays. And I believe in giving while you give, so I donate 20% to End Polio Now.

For a holiday gift guide that allows you to give while you give, visit my Holiday Gift Ideas.

God bless, be well and live like you were dyin'
From my heart to yours with love,

1 comment:

Douglas Welch said...

Wow. Once again, I am left speechless with watery eyes after reading your post...