Ankle Lockdown

Nine days ago – Jan. 27th – I had ankle surgery. I have not stepped outside since. I witness the weather through the window as emerging orange sherbet clouds slowly light up the world. Normally, my friends Maggie, Teresa, or Molly and I would be running and navigating our route for the best view of this spectacular sunrise. 

Instead, I zip around the main level of our home on my borrowed knee scooter, I hop to my yoga mat, stretch, kick my legs, and try to find the familiar peace of flow from all limbs in motion. 

I rediscover Broadway through Spotify – Godspell, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the Phantom, Beautiful!, Jesus Chris Superstar, and now Les Mis. I relive the moments, the people I was with, the weather that day, the energy of the bustle of Chicago. I scooter dance, sing, weep (yep), and rejoice. I take on the characters’ personas – Master of the House! And I want my grandchildren to know every lyric. 

I go nowhere. I have no commute except the scoot to the bathroom. Loved ones have prepared amazing meals, soup, stew, sausage and peppers, sourdough bread. The refrigerator is stocked. My day stretches ahead of me with terrifying freedom. I feel like a cat curling into niches depending on the warmth of the sun. Yes, I have Zoom meetings, enrichment workshops, classes, but my life lacks the normalcy of accountability.

I think of my mom turning 94 in a few weeks who has not seen the sky in many months. Her heavily blinded window blocks the light, and she assures me that she is “a good sleeper.” This fiercely strong mother of ten lost her husband when she was 61, and she carries on with humor and grace. Life simply unfolds in moments because that’s all she has. No technology – no cellphone, no laptop, no internet, no Broadway tunes. The television remote is too complicated. Her joy comes from her caregivers’ kindness. She glows in the photos they send. She doesn’t want to cause any trouble, doesn’t want to be a bother. She doesn’t understand why we don’t visit. “There’s a terrible virus, Mom.” She can’t grasp it. I don’t blame her.

Oh boy. As I type, here it is – “I Dreamed a Dream.” I sob for my mom and force myself to sit with this compassion. My mom dreamed a dream that she would be with my dad, and that they would spend retirement together in Long Beach, Indiana. It didn’t happen, and she persevered, traveled, maintained great friendships, and enjoyed visits with her children and grandchildren. After the passing of two sons, she slipped into a grief we could not reach. She just wanted to be alone with her own thoughts, or with a son or daughter or her sister Mary Agnes. No more crowds. She is done with that. Now she has cheerful Annie and Mary Kate at Mercy Circle to check in on her. I hope she feels their love. As always, she accepts her lot in life. 

I relive the dramas on my wifi speakers. I pray for friends who are sick, a friend who died of Covid yesterday, parents of friends who have passed, our country, frontline workers. I read, write, seek inspiration, contemplate my faith, listen to TED Talks, create assignments, grade papers, talk to friends, look at flights to anywhere, plan trips that may or may not happen, write thank-you notes from the depth of my heart, crawl up the stairs to do laundry, crawl back down, and scoot to my laptop. I research the opening of theaters. I dream of taking Eileen and Charlie to see a play or twirling them to Donny Osmond’s rendition of “Any Dream will Do.”

Yes, any dream will do. That works for me, and I’m filled with gratitude.  

7 thoughts on “Ankle Lockdown

  1. John Ruff

    Nancy, what a blessing, your surgery! Crazy, huh? This is a beautiful post. Thoroughly you. A powerplant of joy and goodwill and wisdom. What a beautiful and complex portrait of your mother. Mine died on All Saints Day. She was in control most of the way–as my sister says, she died with her car keys still in her purse. Crystal the aide at the hospital put her lipstick on for her every morning first thing, for which my mother and all of us were grateful. I’m grateful that you are in our life.

    Oh, and sorry about your ankle. And thanks for sharing the pain meds.

    1. Nancy Scannell Post author

      Oh, John, I am so sorry to hear about your mom. Your stories of her have always inspired me. You carry her legacy with amazing Grace. Love and miss you, John!

  2. Carole Scannell

    So beautiful Nancy💕Your mom knows how much you love her,and she is loved at Mercy Circle! Continue to heal and keep on singing🎼

  3. Bernadette Sims

    My dear Nancy,
    You can not imagine how I enjoy your writings. I think of my mom singing all her favorites from Jesus Christ Superstar, I Don’t Know How To Love Him. My mom had a beautiful voice. I think of times gone by ( Les Mis) wishing I had appreciated those days more. I think of all our aunts and uncles who’s time here was far too short. I remember your eulogy to your dad “ I had the privilege of being Frank’s daughter” not sure if that is an exact quote but it continues to resonate with me. It has been such a privilege to be part of this unique large loving family. Your honesty is raw, it’s real and I feel it. I too have a child who chooses not to have a relationship with us, I know that pain, it does not become easier with time. I pray wondering what I could have done differently. Our other 4 children appear to genuinely enjoy us, warts and all. I have 2 granddaughters I do not know, have not held, or made snow angels with, as I look at the magnificent snowfall. I try to understand but I can not. So I pray again
    Thank you Nancy, thank you for allowing me to not feel alone.
    I love you


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