Taking Leaps

by Jane Miller

We are working on the boat. A lot of working on the boat. I am amazed at what we have accomplished; daunted by the size, scope, and expense; and anxious and panicked when I think too much.    

We leave for Alaska’s Inside Passage on June 18 with a group of other boats under the leadership of our friend Jim Rard and his “Sail Alaska” program. Our starting point is Anacortes, WA, and we’ll be going up north to the South Sawyer Glacier. There and back again. Around 2,000 nautical miles. In about three months. On a 56’ boat. Did I mention the anxiety? How about the panic? Continue reading Taking Leaps

To Sleep, Perchance

by Jane Miller

I finally slept, last night. Wrapped in Erik’s arms. The first time in four nights that I’ve slept like that. Deep, comforting, relaxing, sleep.

I haven’t slept in years. That’s not a hyperbole. I’ve slept no more than three hours at a time since the ‘90s. There are some people, from what I’m given to understand, who fall asleep and stay asleep until they wake up some required amount of time later. There are some people, from what they tell me, who actually sleep for eight hours a night. And wake up refreshed.

Honestly, they say “refreshed.” I don’t even know what that word means anymore. Continue reading To Sleep, Perchance

The Soundtrack of My Life

by Jane Miller

Music lifts me up, calms my soul, cries with me, celebrates my small victories, and soothes my feelings. Like my favorite books, I make friends with songs, bringing them along with me as I move through this world.

Music plays in the background of my days and nights. Continue reading The Soundtrack of My Life

Rounding Corners, or, How Janie Gets Her New Eye

BY JANE MILLER

I’m rounding the corner. Maybe it’s only a small padded corner, so when I run into it I don’t hurt myself, but at least it’s a corner. On Tuesday, February 28, I have an appointment with my ocular surgeon. Dr. Perry will tell me then if my eye has healed enough for a permanent prosthetic.

Continue reading Rounding Corners, or, How Janie Gets Her New Eye

Compartments

by Jane Miller

It’s difficult when friends tell you something you don’t want to hear, especially when it’s something to which you must pay attention.

Since my diagnosis in April, 2014, I have vowed not to let Parkinson’s disease define me. A friend acknowledged this was laudable, but reminded me that even if I do not let it define me, Parkinson’s is part of my life and will not be ignored. So I start to write.

Continue reading Compartments

Fear 2.0

By Jane Miller

What if I can’t do it?

Would it be better to break up now and call it a good try rather than stay, fail, and watch my relationship with Erik splinter into a million heart-broken pieces? Pictures of the boat frighten me. The cockpit seats, the coaming, the small space between the edge of the bench seat and the binnacle where I lay until Erik picked me up.

Continue reading Fear 2.0

Fear 1.0

by Jane Miller

Fear comes like the fog – “on little cat feet.” I had thought I was only afraid of dentists, but now I am faced with stomach-gripping anxiety and heart-skipping panic.

I’m afraid …

… we’re going up to the boat in less than two weeks.

… sometimes I almost remember the fall and the impact that took my right eye and crushed my face.

Continue reading Fear 1.0

One step forward

by Jane Miller

I didn’t really mean to write about all of this. Traveling over the Santiam Pass on New Year’s Eve, I wrote notes for something vastly different. But that will have to wait.

December needs to be revisited first.

I have been so afraid and so deeply sad. I lost my eye. I almost died. My face is still a mass of bruises, swelling, and pain. I will heal, I know, but there will be scars inside and out.

Continue reading One step forward

Irish: Pain, and Fear

by Jane Miller

My world exploded on Thursday, but the fuse was ignited on Monday when I was fired from my job. I had more than half expected it, work was a toxic environment at best, but the finality of it was daunting.

Erik was determined to keep my spirits up though, and we set off on a walkabout. Being in Victoria with him, being on the boat with him, just being with him made me irrepressibly happy. I was afraid, though, what this change in employment and finances would bring to our relationship. My voice shook as I nervously asked him if he could still date an unemployed miscreant who couldn’t hold down a job. I had learned long ago that there were perils to asking a question to which one did not know the answer.

Continue reading Irish: Pain, and Fear