Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Helping Hands

I apologize for leaving you hanging. I intended on writing a blog yesterday, but the day got away from me, time flew by, and suddenly, without notice, I woke this morning realizing that I'd not finished the story of getting home.

We went out to the MV1, I'd slept poorly because I was so worried about how I'd get in. The ramp couldn't be trusted, but could my legs, could my arms? I'd tried doing a few stairs to get up into a pub in the hotel in Fredericton and managed with great difficulty. I did get into the pub only to find a bartender with a quizzical look. Why hadn't we used the accessible entrance? Because we wanted a nice pub experience I didn't point out lack of any signage that indicated that there was a flat entrance into the place. I didn't even tell Joe about my restraint, sometimes I like to be gracious in silence. Those stairs, though, told me, that I'm really, really, not good with stairs any more. And yet, I had to get into the vehicle or we simply weren't going home.

We looked along the curb to find exactly where it was deepest, the spot that would shave off a millimeter or two of height from the step. That done, I sat in my chair and considered the step. In doing so, I remembered.

I worked, many years ago as a young consultant, with a little girl of about seven years age. She had an intellectual disability and struggled with valour and with determination to learn the skills she wanted to learn. She had been a joy to work with because her motivation was so high. When I asked her mother how she had instilled such a passionate determination to succeed in her child, she said, "Well, it wasn't me, it was my husband." She then went on to tell me that her husband had gone though some dark times and suffered some severe trauma, he found that the only thing that could beat back the sense of hopelessness which constantly threatened to overwhelm him was by developing an inner cheering squad. He found some phrases and some positive self statements that he would use in rough times.

When their child was diagnosed with an intellectual disability, she said, she fell apart. Her husband had been her rock and she said that, even with all that had happened to him, all the hopes he'd placed on this child, he loved her at birth and nothing or no one would change that. He started early teaching his daughter how to think about herself, how to think about her struggles, how to think about the life that she was given to live. He and she would practice thought patterns that were aimed and 'beating back the darkness' and 'increasing the ability to see light.'

I did meet the father at one of the family meetings near the end of my involvement with the family. He was an amazing guy. I told him so.

Anyways, I thought about the little girl, as I sat there looking at the step. I knew that my last attempt was a success that rested on the head of failure. I decided that I'd channel her positivism and her sheer will to do what needed to be done.

And I got in.

It was almost as if she took one arm, her dad the other, and assisted me up and into the van.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Dave. A beautiful and "uplifting" post. I am glad you have a deep well of experiences and people from your past you can draw from to give you strength when you need it. Safe travels.

Bev Dyck said...

What she/he said!! I'm so glad you posted, I was truly worried.

Mary said...

Positive thinking can be a wonderful thing.

Too often it gets hijacked as an idea that a problem cheerily ignored will cease to exist. Oh Dave, did you not realise that if you go through life with a song in your heart you won't need that wheelchair any more?

But I do believe tackle-able problems are much easier to tackle in a positive frame of mind, and solutions are more easily spotted. It's a mental catalyst.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Mary, I hear ya. I'm not one of those who believe that 'positive thinking' cures disease and can 'lift you out of a wheelchair'. I do believe, however, that the internal language we use in speaking with ourselves can have a tremendous impact on how we live our lives and deal with day to day issues. I'm way to mean to myself - I say horrid things that I would never say to another person. Learning to be kinder in the way I treat myself, learning to encourage myself rather than berate myself is an ongoing thing. This dad taught his girl how to talk to herself about herself ... inner kindness and inner hope.

princeton posse said...

Good to hear you good home safely and in one piece...

B. said...

Glad to hear you made it.

theknapper said...

What an amazing dad.....I want him in my head.....I'll make room.

Deep Breathing said...

The little girl's story is quite inspirational. Most of us drown in our own sorrows not thinking there are others out there that have it worse than us, those who didn't had a choice because they were born with it. Instead of whining and feeling down all the time of what has become of us, we should instead channel our energy to move on with our life and live with our utmost effort and gratitude that at least we get to live another day, we get to see the people we love and we get to feel the moments in everyday.