In two weeks Adam and I head to Chestertown, Maryland for my colllege reunion. Twenty-eight years. We will drive the open, rural roads of the Eastern Shore that always hold the same breathtaking views. We will pass the landmarks, go over the bridges, breath in the air, feel the breezes until we drive into the town that was my second home for four very important and impressionable years. Chestertown and the campus has changed in the past twenty eight years. Rightly so. Growth of this type is important and necessary. However, when I take this drive, and I go into town, and walk the campus I am more focused on what is the same rather than what is different.
Though it as been twenty-eight years since I walked in my cap and gown, it has only been two years since I have been back to C-town. It was a weekend with glorious weather, good friends, great food and drink. One evening as the sun was setting, I sat in the boathouse with old friends, drinking ice cold white wine, eating crabs and laughing so much that my side hurt. Later on that night we trekked through the open fields adjacent to the home that friends had rented for the weekend. And with the first flash of lights and booms we stopped right there in the land that seemed to go on forever and watched the fireworks. Though I try to hold on to the glory of those moments I also remember that between the oohs and ahs and the bursts of light, I was concerned and confused as to why I was having trouble keeping up with my friends as we slugged through the fields. In true Deb fashion I chose to ignore it or chalk it up to being in my late forties.
In two weeks I will be back, catching up and making memories with many of the same old friends that I saw two years ago. Last I saw them I didn't have to worry about whether I could get my wheelchair into a building or whether a bathroom is accessible. I was able to hold a fork and reaching for a tissue didn't require effort. My voice was clear and my feet weren't swollen. And that familiar fear of losing "me" in the symptoms of the disease begins to rear its ugly head. Will these friends be able to see "me"?
I will go forth. Instead of looking at what is different I will choose to look for the things that are the same. Memories from our college days are the same. Our connections are the same. The love I have for these incredible friends is the same. And if my fear creeps up and I begin to lose my faith in "me", I will do my best to push those fears to the side and live in the moment. I will make new memories, connect maybe in different ways, and definitely continue to love deeply.