I have recently fallen in love with the television show “This Is Us”. I’m a sucker for a family drama (“Parenthood” anyone?). I was watching it last week and started to think about our life, our family and our ’us’. As an audience, we watch different movies or series and we get incredibly involved. We love the characters and we feel for them. We cry for them and we want to know what happens to them. We want to be a part of these fictional characters and their journey. I think what we forget sometimes is that there are real people in this world living out these emotional, painful and traumatic journey in real time. They can’t reach the end of an episode and turn it off. Nobody expects his or her life to turn sideways – it happens to other people right? But sometimes it happens – it happened to us.
The tears come. Sometimes they are expected and sometimes they hit without invitation or warning. It’s a very helpless feeling when the walls you have built up crumble and bury your coping mechanisms underneath. All of a sudden you forget how you’ve been waking up each day; laughing with your children; chatting with your friends…breathing. When you’re in the midst of the tears – your eyes are red, your nose is running and you can’t catch your breath – it feels never ending. It feels like all of the ‘normal’ you have worked so hard for is wiped out with one emotional moment. But then it slows. Eventually your eyes dry, the sniffles slow and you breathe normally yet again. You start to reconstruct your safety walls and remember how to get out of bed. Something makes you smile; something makes you laugh. Then you remember that this crazy collection of emotions means you are alive and so you start living again. And you move on…until the next time the tears come.
When I’m out I get noticed. I would like to think people are looking at me because I’m so beautiful and charismatic but then it would have happened to me more before my accident…weird! I’ve concluded it must be the wheelchair. I’ve come to realize that people generally stare because they are curious…but it doesn’t really make it any easier to be on the receiving end. For most people, seeing someone living with a disability is out of their ‘range of normal’ and they want to somehow fit it in and figure it out. I’ve been asked what the appropriate reactions are to have when someone sees a person with a disability. All I can attest to is what I think is appropriate and I think that is different for adults and for children. This post will tell you what I think adults should do…I will explore the topic of the ever-curious child in another post. Continue reading “Don’t Stare at Me”
From the instant I fell, my world stopped.
“The surgery went well, but the damage was extensive and you will probably never walk again.” Continue reading “Waking Up”