We were having lunch at the Starlight Cafe at Disney. I held the table for a short while while Mike was off with Ruby to meet Belle and Joe and Marissa had gone in to get burgers. The sun was out but I was under the protection of an umbrella. I had moved from the scooter to the chair and was just people watching. A young man with Down Syndrome came from the crowd to take a table and have his lunch. I scanned the mob to find a caregiver and saw none, as everyone converged on our table I kept my eye out for someone, no one came.
Driving home, we hit I 90 at Erie and turned East. I was simply looking out the window trying to will the miles by. I liked being in the van as I sat higher and could see much more than in our VW Bug. As we went over a bridge, I looked down and saw a guy, who looked about my age, sitting in a wheelchair near the edge of an embankment along a river. His van was sitting near him like a faithful servant. There was no one with him. He was just sitting there. No beer in his hand. No fishing tackle to be seen. No book. It was just him, the river and the day.
As I remember the trip, I'm hoping to write my favourite moment from the trip tomorrow if I can muster up the talent to tell it right, I remember sitting by the pool, alone. Of course I loved the company of family and all but that time just by myself was so restorative. Sitting in my wheelchair, my scooter tucked up beside me, looking out over the water. Book sat unread on the table. For awhile it was just me. Alone.
I need people in my life. I need people because I'm a people needer. Some people aren't, I am. I can't imagine my life without Joe. I can't imagine my life without others in it. But, here's the rub, I also need people because I have a disability. Joe does things for me that I can't do for myself. He enables me in the best way possible. Some of Joe's duties were taken over by others over these few days. When we were out sans scooter Mike pushed me ... Ruby tried and failed in such a comic way that we all laughed loudly. Marissa and Ruby help get and fetch as needed. As someone who was once proudly independant, this kind of people needing can sometimes rub self esteem a bit raw.
I understood the peace on the face of that guy with Down Syndrome who lunched alone. I am romantically tinging my interpretation of the man by the side of the river. I get what they are doing. And I've decided, I'm going to do it a little more often. Because, in that quiet time, I found something I thought I'd lost. Turns out it was me.