Friday, September 21, 2012

Beverly and Maria

These photos were two weeks in the making because I'm a highly skilled professional who pays the utmost attention to detail. 

Let me break it down for you:  

I attended my first yoga class in at least 3 years two weeks ago and met a woman who I'll tell you about in a minute. I asked if it was OK to take her photo. She acquiesced. I pulled out the camera, focused, clicked and...

...realized I didn't have a memory card in the camera. At which point I stammered and begged forgiveness and asked if I could try again the following Friday. "I'll be here," she told me.

The following Friday before I left the house, I ensured the camera absolutely, positively had a memory card so I could capture Beverly. Yup! It was there. After yoga I approached her again, went to take a photo and nothing--NOTHING!--was on any of my screens.  

Because I'd forgotten to put the blasted battery, which was recharging at my house, back in the camera.  

Today she didn't believe me when I told her I was really, truly prepared to capture her photo.  

But I showed her.  


was born with a heart defect that eventually led to two open-heart surgeries in 2009. The second one left her with a condition called pulmonary hypertension, which resulted in her needing an oxygen tank permanently. This, in addition to recovering from having her chest cracked open, is the hand life dealt her. It's a lot for anyone to take.  

She was depressed for a year following the diagnosis and subsequent rehab--a year in which she didn't get out much and felt a bit sorry for her lot in life. The need for the oxygen embarrassed her. It's through no fault of her own, of course, but that didn't make the reality of walking around in public with medical equipment in tow any easier to swallow. 

Enter Maria...

who was relentless with her friend. She told Beverly to get up, get moving, get back to the YMCA. The ladies met there and Beverly was attending Maria's fitness classes (she teaches several a week) before all her health problems took their toll.

It took some coaxing. Beverly protested that everyone would be looking at her. Yes, said Maria, they probably would be. So what? It was this tough love that eventually led Beverly on the road to emotional recovery. She is now as active as she was before. Pilates, yoga, trekking, riding horses...she does it all. She had to tweak her equipment to accommodate her activities, but she's living her life. She told me this morning that she doesn't breath as deeply as she should when she's working out for fear that the extra noise from the machine would be bothersome to others. But I told her I liked the sound--that rhythmic, pressurized hiss is somehow comforting. She then shared women from her other classes use the sound as well. If they don't hear the hiss, they know Beverly isn't breathing and set her straight.  

It takes a village, doesn't it, to help us navigate this world. I find both these women inspiring: Beverly for not giving in to the depression and Maria for not giving up on her friend. 

What's your excuse for not living your life?  ->  

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