My Left Hand - A Memoir

I am lucky to have a large, loving and supportive family. I am grateful to the State of Maryland for helping me along and for my Autumn Lake at Crofton nursing home. I hope for a time when I can take care of myself and travel again. I have my eyes on the prize. I try to walk every day and keep my leg strong. We must be more than a string of experiences and deeds. If just one person reads something in the book and thinks, I have thought that before or that sounds like me, I will be satisfied.I am a 58-year-old teacher, writer and parent to Sam, 22, whom I raised on my own.

In 2019, I had a stroke while I was teaching in Mexico. I have struggled not to become bitter and to remain full of gratitude for this beautiful world and the great people in it with whom I have crossed paths. When I think about my future, I envision myself lucky enough to have a grandchild or two and to live close to my son. I can speak and think, so I consider myself lucky to be living a long and interesting life. I keep hope alive for my future.

I can close my eyes and go back to so many places, but I must be more than a string of memories. I hope I was a good friend and a loving and supportive and engaging teacher. And a good mother. I lived in Colorado, the highest state in the USA, where it seemed to snow frequently on the Fourth of July! And I broiled under a Middle Eastern sun, so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk. My life has been full of contrasts.

I have been broke and comfortably well off; I have been both athletic and wheelchair bound. I am not quite sure why God put so many lessons and contrasts into my life, but I can only attest to this one life. I hope you come to care about the girl in the book. I have done all kinds of jobs, some lowly, many gratifying, and I have been entrusted with people's most valuable entity, their children. I have spent parts of my life deeply in love and in others, terribly lonely. I just hope you see yourself in this contrast, and in other ways too.

In writing this memoir, I was trying to learn more about myself and other people, and I wanted to relive my life from my place now in a wheelchair. Writing here has given my life purpose and focus and shape. My life was unusual–the story of someone who volunteered for homeless cats, shot elk in the woods, and did most things with a sense of humor. We are all mentally connected in some way, like a root system. The hardest part of this book was the organization. Once I had that in place, with the help of four editors, the rest seemed to flow: early childhood, education, Maryland, Colorado, then Abu Dhabi and Mexico and Maryland, paralysis and writing

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"I hope you come to care about the girl in the book. I hope you see yourself in the contrasts and in other ways too. We are all connected in some way, like a root system"

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