Tuesday, May 05, 2009

3 Scenes 1 Realization

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.


Sans help.

Sans helpers.

Sans assistance.

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.


rickismom said...

I think we all need quiet time, not just those with a disability. My favorite is to watch the sunrise....

Ashley's Mom said...

And my favorite is to sit at the edge of the ocean very early in the morning, before anyone else arrives, and just marvel at the magnificence of it all.

CJ said...

I'm so glad you found some restoration.

Just being alone with oneself, quiet, (with nature preferably) is really all that is needed.

Yesterday, I was in the locker room at my gym. In walk two women, one older, one younger, from the indoor pool. They were alone and they both had intellectual disabilities. We chatted a little and they were getting into their lockers and then the showers.....no caregivers in sight!

miss kitten said...

TheEngineer really stresses about me not having a "social life". the fact that he's going out of town for the most of a month and leaving me here alone is making him nearly insane.

but he doesnt understand that i have books to read, and friends to visit with online, and movies to watch, and in one phone call i can arrange to go spend time with mama and visit with family (its only a 40 minute drive and i can do that) and i am not as alone as he thinks.

i just dont appreciate large crowds. i dont have hearing issues, i have sensory overload issues. and in some cases those are a LOT worse.

yay for you finding YOU!!

Cynthia F. said...

i had a realization today too, about how much this blog has changed how i think. i was listening to an interview on "fresh air" (a national public radio program here in the u.s.) and the host was interviewing author ayelet waldman, who writes frankly about motherhood. and waldman was sharing the story of how when she was pregnant with her third child they had an amnio and found a trisomy - not down syndrome but a rarer one where the kid might have no manifestation at all, might have intellectual disabilities (which she referred to as mental retardation) and/or might have kidney problems. and she had an abortion at 14 weeks. so she's talking about how this affects how she feels and talks and thinks about abortion, but all *I* can think about as I'm hearing this is "what's so scary about mental retardation? do you really think you wouldn't love your child or that they wouldn't be a valuable addition to the world?" and before i became a regular reader of this blog, i don't know if that would have been my question. so i thank you, dave, for the quiet transformation you've caused in me.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Cynthia F ... you have made my day. Thank you so much for your comment. I do wonder, sometimes, if my blog is anything more than a diversion to others. Wow. Great.

Brenda said...

Oh, Dave. Your blog is SO much more than just a diversion! You inform, you share, you challenge...and every once in a while, like today, you touch very deeply. How great that you 'found you'. I know, deep inside, that's what I need to do too. And the wondrous part of it is that I didn't even know that's what I was blindly reaching for, until I read your post. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.