Day 336

These shortening days are meant for healing. I believe that.

I started this day up on the Ringling Bridge, looking up at the halo around the half moon and Jupiter tagging along behind. My friend and I caught up on all the things. I returned to my house to find Banyan ready for school early. We took the dogs for a nice walk, and when we got back, Benji was awake and getting dressed. His tummy hurt again, intermittently. It prompted me to take his blood pressure. I got three high readings in a row.

We called the clinic, but I knew from experience that it would be hours before we got an answer. I had to make an executive decision, with Michael’s counsel. We decided to give Benjamin a dose of Amlodipine. This was the daily blood pressure medicine he was taking for a few weeks after his most recent hospitalization. It’s the “maintenance” medicine; the other one we have is Nefedipine, which is a rescue medicine. I was worried that if I chose Nefedipine and sent Benji to school, his blood pressure might drop too drastically.

Benjamin appeared and acted just fine to go to school, which speaks volumes to me. I look to his spirit for information more than anywhere else, and it was strong and excited. He went to school, and Michael took Banyan to school as well. I came home to get ready for the annual NeuroChallenge Foundation luncheon.

NeuroChallenge is a nonprofit organization that the Gilkey family became involved in when Michael’s father was progressing with Parkinson’s disease. Kathy, Gana and I have all been involved in one capacity or another for years, from board service to event chairmanship. Gana has really taken the helm in recent years and is making a mark in our community to be sure that families affected by Parkinson’s feel loved and supported. I sat with my family today, including Michael’s sweet uncle and aunt, and listened to Parkinson’s patients and caregivers speak about the value of support. I couldn’t help but draw parallels.

I watched my mother-in-law care for her husband with love for many years. I watched as his needs became her life, and as her grace became his peace. This was not lost on me. Hers was a powerful example. One of the speakers in today’s NeuroChallenge luncheon was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease just a few months into his engagement with his fiance. He shared today how he’d told her that she could leave the relationship freely, that his diagnosis was her ticket out. He paused, then said that she would never do that, of course. She was seated at a table behind him, tears streaming. They were in it for the long haul, just like Mic and Kathy were, just like Michael and I are, just like we are with our children, no matter what. We are in this. Together.

I left the Neurochallenge luncheon with renewed gratitude. I changed out of my dress and into comfortable clothes as the rain started pouring down. Benji and I ran out of school in the rain. Together. Laughing. When we pulled up at Sarasota Middle School, Banyan found us. He ran to us in the rain, laughing too. I told the boys that this moment–the moment they are both in my car again–is my absolute favorite moment of each day. I knew they’d be fighting within hours, if not minutes. I didn’t care. This pure, unadulterated happiness at pickup time–this is what I believe in.

The clinic finally called back during homework time. We agreed that I would continue monitoring Benji’s blood pressure daily and call with updates. I tried to report this as calmly as possible, knowing it may mean a trip over the Skyway in the coming days.

After homework time, Michael came to scoop up the boys for dinner and for Banyan’s basketball practice, and I did something that was way, way outside of my comfort zone. I hosted a little gathering for people interested in essential oils to make their own holiday gifts. Some of the guests I’ve known for decades, some I just met tonight. We made sugar scrub, room spray, bath bombs and bath salts. I served wine and snacks and the tree was trimmed and the music was playing and I was happy. When the boys returned from basketball, Benji wanted to participate too. He made two bath bombs and a sugar scrub. This boy knows healing when he sees it.

Healing comes in many forms. Whether it is holding someone’s hand, or giving back to a community after loss, or gathering with friends old and new, or dropping essences into jars and bottles. We are in this. Together. 

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