I’m on her right, my right arm under her right arm, my left holding the back of her pants; she looks at me and says, “You got me?” I nod. She turns her head to her left, looks at Erica, her caregiver who has one arm under Marty’s and one arm gripping the back of her pants. She looks Erica in the eye and asks, “You got me?”
We then go 1, 2, 3 then lift to stand Marty up at the sink. We got her.
It’s not a plea, it’s not a command, it’s a simple question that is not really that simple that carries across our lives, and “You got me?”
You bet I got her. I would never, ever let her fall.
Marty asks that question a lot; she has asked it, one way or another, for a long time. In the past the question took on a larger meaning, today, its Marty’s way of doing a couple of things.
When she asks the question, she expects focus, strength, and skill; it’s not a rhetorical question. She wants the reassurance that you have the situation under control and that you are capable of lifting or twisting or pulling or pushing, whatever you’re doing. It’s also her way of controlling the pace and flow of action, her way of controlling what we are doing to and for her in a life where she has surrendered too much control. It’s Marty saying, “I’m watching you, I’m setting the pace and I’m making sure you are prepared. You got me?”
In a deeper more introspective way it’s a question Marty always wanted to know, always wanted to ask but never really did. It’s a question all of us want to know of our family, our friends, the people we love, the people we hope love us. We want to know, when we need a lift, when we need a hand, will you help me before I fall, “You got me?”
It took the strokes, supreme life altering events, it took a complete fracture of her life for Marty to get the courage to look me in the eye and ask me the question, “You got me?” She was never sure we would, get her, help her if things fell apart. She wasn’t sure we loved her enough, she wasn’t sure she should be loved that much, she didn’t ever know if she was that lovable. It’s hard for any of us to think we are that worthy.
I have to confess, there have been a lot of times in my life, up to and including today, when I wanted to turn to Marty, to friends, to family and ask the question, “You got me?” Pride makes it almost impossible; pride says the question makes you weak, pride says you can’t ask before you fall, pride says you can’t express fear of falling. Pride keeps us from hearing love.
Reality, ego, our very essence says we need to know that there are people around us who will not let us fall too far and if we fall they will be there to pick us up. We have to believe, we just can’t ask, we can’t be that vulnerable.
Marty is not unique there, just like most of us not sure of our self worth, she has felt the pull and push of ego and pride, but because of her broken brain she has found the courage, the need, to ask the simple question, “Will you keep me from falling, do you love me enough, am I worthy of that kind of love.”
The strokes have put Marty in an uninviting but unique position in life. She gets to see how much she is loved, she gets to see how much her husband cares for her, she gets to see how steadfast her children are, she gets to see her family lift her up and close ranks around her. Most of us have to die and be eulogized at our funeral to find that, and then it’s kind of late for it to matter.
I am painfully aware I haven’t always showed it to Marty; I know I never said it enough and I am certain I never said it in a way she truly believed. Marty has had to live through a part of life we all want to avoid to discover that I will never let her fall, that I will always love her enough and that she is worthy of all our love.
The truth is, most of the time, through most of our lives, today and every day, I hope I am worthy of her. You bet I got her.