Thirty years since I had my 18 metre fall from the State Theatre stage during a performance of Camelot.
When I left the hospital, the specialist advised my parents to put me into an institution and forget about me. I would never be able to do anything other than lie on my back staring mindlessly up at the ceiling. How I wish I could meet that doctor today. I would take him by the hand and say: “Dance with me, Doc, dance!!!”
The “old Gaynor” could sing, juggle, dance and do cartwheels. She was an energetic, free wheeling spirit. She loved people and enjoyed being loved in return. Onstage it took one step in the wrong direction and that Gaynor vanished forever.
Picture a photograph being developed in a dark room. The photographer has a blank piece of paper which he swirls around in a watery chemical solution. Then he hangs the paper up to dry. As it dries, so shapes begin to emerge out of the blankness. Eventually a photograph shines back at him.
After my fall, I was like that blank piece of paper lying submerged. I needed to be gently swirled in a ‘watery solution’. My family, my friends, my therapists twirled, spun and whirled me gently to and fro. And then I was delicately hung out to dry. And gradually the new Gaynor began to take shape and form.
This Gaynor is in love with life. She appreciates life in a totally new way.
Isn’t it strange how when something is taken away, and then given back in a new form, it becomes so incredibly valuable.
I lost 60% of my eyesight.
What I now see is so precious to me. In the morning, coffee in hand, I cast my eyes up towards the mountains in George. Every day they say good morning to me in a different form. This morning they rose up majestically into this amazing blue sky. All around grey rocks broke the blue skyline in craggy peaks. They reminded me of great, gentle dinosaurs that had been solidified into rock. I imagined them opening their eyes, stretching out and lumbering to their feet. But that would not happen today, I smiled, as I made my way back towards my coffee pot.
I remember the specialist showing me a scan of my brain. He pointed out the brain cells that controlled my sight.
“Why they weren’t all killed off is anyone’s guess!” he mused.
The sky, the little old woman crossing the road, the new bud on my rose, a babies eyes focusing on the world, my dog and cockatiel gazing at each other in a love\hate relationship, the stars at night…….
I can see!
For 18 years after my fall, I was deaf. Now with my Cochlear Implants the world has opened itself up to me once more. I adore the sound of birds twittering amongst themselves. I will never treat bird song as I used to, taking it for granted. Children laughing and shouting together. The sound of Mums’ voice. Perdita, my dog’s little snores. The wind blowing the leaves on a tree.
Isn’t sound an awe-inspiring thing? And just think, when the neighbours are being unbelievably raucous, I am able to take my Cochlear Implants off – total silence.
Laugh – what bliss!!!
Isn’t it amazing that Cochlear Implants were invented 35 years ago. I went deaf 30 years ago. How lucky can you get?
I now walk with a brace on my spastic right leg. This prevents me from over extending. It makes walking that much easier because it stops me swaying sideways. Perdita, the dog that shares a home with me and I often walk a kilometre up to Ground Control, the best coffee house in the world! I sit there, Perdita contentedly sitting beside me, sipping a cafe latte and work on my blog. An hour later we will stroll home again. No pain in my back because at long last I am walking upright!
I am laughing at myself. In my thirties, there would have been no way that I ever would have considered putting this brace onto my body. Why is it that at 58 years of age, it doesn’t bother me? Have I given up on attempting to look beautiful or have I gained a little wisdom over the years?
Wasn’t I fortunate to have been born into a family such as mine? Their unending love and support has played a large part towards making me what I am today. Mums is an incredible person. I am so grateful for her determination, sheer stubbornness and unending love. She raised her daughter twice! Thank you to all my friends. When I first got out of hospital, I remember lying in bed and thinking to myself: There is NO WAY that people will want to remain friends with a deaf, spastic person who can’t even walk!
Wasn’t I wrong! Not only do I have all my friends of old, I also have a whole host of others.
I couldn’t survive without my family.
I couldn’t survive without my friends.
Why did God allowed my fall to happen? I have realised that while I am on this earth I am never going to get an answer to that question. Make no mistake, one day when I am sitting having a G and T with God in Heaven, He is going to have a lot of explaining to do!
Seriously though, my fall happened through the stupidity of man. God had nothing to do with it. I am so very aware that I wouldn’t be as I am today if it wasn’t for this incredible God who has been holding my hand and steering me through life. The good and the bad, God is always there.
Starting over can be one of the scariest things in the world.
With the one step off stage, I began that process. A new Gaynor was born. I often long for the old Gaynor. But thirty years on, the new Gaynor looks at this wonderful, treacherous, generous, unreliable, beautiful, unpredictable world of ours and says:
“Isn’t Life great?”