Her final days living in the hospital were spent learning to climb the stairs and learning walk with a carrier which held a twenty pound weight in it.
She’d gone from being unable to move any part of her right side,
to being able to clutch a cloth and move her foot back and forth,
to learning to tie an elastic,
re-learning to write,
and trying to keep a positive mindset through it all.
When she regained the ability to walk, Gemma was in complete awe of her
m i n d p o w e r .
That in the morning, she could barely step out of her wheelchair
but by night she was able to take small steps with a walker,
just like that.
She was currently using her walker to make her way to the kitchen where she was supposed to meet her occupational therapist for a session.
Occupational therapy was to help her practice the things she did on a regular basis, such as cleaning, cooking, changing diapers, and everything that taking care of a baby entails...which is everything.
Rowan, her therapist greeted her with a smile.
Gemma greeted her with a crooked one of her own.
“How about we try working a can opener first?
Do you feel as though you can attempt it?”
Gemma was standing straight up against the counter top, a can of soup in her left hand and the can opener in her right.
Her right hand had trouble supporting the weight of the opener, but Gemma did her best to secure it over the can.
She tried over and over until her hand was exhausted and Rowan said,
“Try using your left hand to do the heavy work.
We all need to start small.”
Gemma nodded, using her left hand to twist and manoeuvre around the can while her right hand did her best to steady it. She was all but able to pull the cap right off as it still remained connected by a small strand that was stronger than she currently was...
Rowan said before handing her an Orange.
“Now how about trying to peel this?
Using any hand you feel comfortable.”
“Okay.” Gemma said,
certain she would be able to tackle this task after having been able to tackle walking just the day before.
She attempted to use her right hand to peel first, feeling optimistic. But she could not even move her fingers individually yet, and so even trying to mark the skin of the fruit with her nail was
i m p o s s i b l e .
So she tried with her left hand.
Somehow it was not working.
Her right hand could not hold the fruit steady while the left clumsily tried to peel it bare, and she soon found herself sobbing...
Harder and harder until it was
u n c o n t r o l l a b l e .
Her disappointment in herself and her body was too much for her to bear when she was trying to get home by the following week.
Rowan placed a gentle hand onto Gamma’s,
“we can try again tomorrow.
I think that’s enough for today.”
Gemma thanked her before using her walker to steer her back to her room, feeling shamed and embarrassed for her moment of weakness.
When she got back to her room, there stood Caleb with Forest is his arms.
Forest immediately leaped forward from Caleb’s arms to reach for Gemma,
but Caleb caught him and Gemma tried to position herself as comfortable
as possible in her bed before Caleb could place the baby in her arms.
She propped a pillow under her right arm and fixed the wires on her chest so that they were hidden and would not distract Forest when he was nursing.
Caleb placed him gently into her arms and Gemma felt her right arm give out completely under the weight of her fast growing son,
but that was what the pillow was for.
She pulled down her shirt and he found her breast right away and gave a
s i g h
of relief when the milk began to make its way to him.
She stared at him the way she has since the day he was born.
Counting his eye-lashes and feeling the curve of his cheek.
He looked up at his mother and placed a hand gently on her face, as he’s always done, as though he were memorizing this moment too.
Both of them,
savouring the sweetness of each other’s company
to keep for when darker days come again.
This nightmare had already done the impossible by strengthening the bond between Gemma, Caleb and their son.
And in this quiet moment, they took each other in,
privately awaiting grand things to happen.