“Why you be so pi’iful” Gracie, 4 years old

As I was working my way through dressing this morning, I was worrying about Facetime. I know I will see all of my family today via electronics. Am I presentable?

Suddenly, I found myself crying. I don’t want my grandchildren to think I’m pitiful.

In the last months I’ve had a chance to tell most of them that a stroke hasn’t made me a new person. I’ve reassured them that I am still who I have always been but just can’t do the same things. But is it true?

After not quite four months I’m not my old self. I cry easily. I’m more vulnerable. I can ‘t take charge.  I can’t take them anywhere – they’re taking me. I can’t walk without a cane. I can’t hug them with both arms.

Am I pitiful?

“I don’t want to be,” came the whimper.

“Then don’t be,” came the whisper.

Pitiful is a state of mind. It manifests itself in self-defeating talk, in cowering posture, in undue hesitance, and in a myriad ways of being. The presentation is all in my power.

A not-quite-moving right hand isn’t an indication of my worth. My use of a cane shows that I am learning to walk alone., not that I am dependent. Just maybe my family is relieved to know of ways to help me. It can be their loving gift to me.

At the end of the day I can’t say I’m fond of FaceTime. I’m not used to seeing myself as I am. LOL! I’ll probably carry that optimistic self-image to the grave. But I’m not feeling pitiful. I’m feeling strong in my family position as loving elder, on-call adviser, role model, and Matriarch who loves unconditionally (most of the time). That hasn’t changed.

So this is my belated Thanksgiving post. My report that I am still living in gratitude for all my many blessings.



  1. Perhaps you have already gathered what I am about to share with you from my blog posts.

    I have been using a walking stick /cane/ elbow crutches at need etc since 1981. When people see me without it they wonder what has happened. I suffered an attack of palsy on my right ulnar region in 2009 and have limited use of the right hand since then. You can understand how difficult it will be for someone in India who is expected to eat rice and curry off a plate or a plantain leaf using only his fingers!

    My COPD makes it difficult to walk for even just a few meters or undertake anything vigorous.

    I am however ALIVE!

    I am sharing to say to you that it is no big deal. Everyone will understand and most of them will not even comment on it.

    You are not pitiful.


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