She moved with the grace of a gazelle, accentuated by coiffed-to-kill hair and a shiny black leather jacket. Articulate as a Carpenter's song, her voice modulated with the consummate pro's lack of awkwardness. Where questioners stumbled she covered with honey.
She was a figure of interest especially in her Sandy Koufax-like quitting while at the top of her game. Only 48, she was coveted by boards across the country and lived in the high recesses of the tightest circles in businessdom. She worked 12-14 hours a day, six days a week, and had climbed the corporate ladder two steps at a time. She was one year into the "crucible job", the one in which she could cyncically see as a setup for failure or the challenge through which she could break through to reach her dream: CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
There was no history of ill health whatsoever. Not an ounce of extra fat. Low blood pressure. Low cholesterol readings. No history of anything. On paper she was Health personified.
Until she found herself on the floor, unable to communicate to her husband, her brain not working right. His worried face was not reassured by her "I'm alright", words that sounded in her ear but not the air. She repeated them with no apparent effect. A few hours earlier she could communicate complex business concepts but now she couldn't tell her husband that she was okay. Because she wasn't. She'd had a TIA stroke and her right side was temporarily paralyzed.
It was a game-changer for her, and she learned shortly thereafter that the odds of a permanent stroke were high given the TIA. She studied health instead of potential acquisitions. She learned that a work/life balance was crucial so she gave up her dream of CEO. She quit the company, realizing that there was no way she could give up her long term habits of drive and ambition in the same surroundings.
And so at age 48 the question again came back to her again after all those years, the question she'd asked herself when she was five: "What do I want to do when I grow up?"
She asked the same question of her granddaughter and the child, after being repeatedly pressed said, "Gamma, I want to be me." The grandmother thought to herself "Oh, the wisdom of children!"