Thursday, March 14, 2013


Last week a friend invited me to a get-together at her new home. I was feeling adventurous, so I drove myself. It was the first time since I got my driver’s license back that I drove to a place I’ve never driven to before. It was very nice to be self-sufficient. I even had the mental and physical energy to remember to stop and get some flowers on the way there.

But driving myself is also bittersweet. For almost three years, I’ve relied on rides from so many people: friends, family, neighbors, writing group members, fellow church-goers, friends of my parents, caregivers--to name a few. I know that for the people who have gave me rides, it has not been without cost: most people have many other commitments that compete for their time. But for me, it has been one of the unexpected gifts for me of the stroke. Without that space in time that cars can provide, I would have missed out on so many interesting stories. People have talked to me about their the work projects; their own family dramas; the political causes they're dedicated to; their pet peeves; their personal histories that they wouldn’t divulge with children around. There are so many corners in people's lives I wouldn’t have discovered without my years of forced dependence.


  1. I can really relate to this story. Chatting with friends was such a joy after talking mostly to therapists while I was a patient in the rehab hospital.

  2. So true! I loved riding with my mom to and from doctor's appointments. We'd have a great chat and often go to lunch afterward. We hadn't the opportunity for that kind of one-on-one quality time in years. I think of it fondly.

  3. I have two words for you: book contract. Maybe that's one word, with a hyphen. Book-contract. No, no, it's two. Book. Contract.

  4. I'm with Derin. You are so engaging in your stories, the sharing of your experiences, the lens you see the world through and your voice! Grace, I don't know you well, but you do seem happier and I enjoy reading your blog! Thanks for sharing!
    -Cathy Murphy, Neighbor and fellow parent

  5. Yes, please...a book :)

  6. What a wonderful way to look at the experience of not being able to drive...thank you for sharing your thoughts on this!

    1. Sarah - I'm sure that if I had had a stroke in my twenties, my outlook would been much different. At that point in my life, I would have been crushed by not being able to be independent.

  7. It is a blessing when we slow down enough in life to truly appreciate the time others are willing and able to give us.

    I am so excited to read about your first independent car adventure. I know that was one of the most empowering post-stroke milestones I made. I didn't even make it to a friend's though. I was so excited for the renewed independence I drove down the street to get a paper and right back home. :-)

  8. Slowing down a little and making the time to enjoy people and the little things in life is truly the secret to inner happiness.

    God Bless!