Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Inspirational Caregiving

 These pictures are from our trip 2 years ago. 

We didn't bring our good camera on either vacation and just used our camera phone.

Bei has grown a lot these past two years!
In light of the Sandy Hook Massacre and now the Boston Marathon terrorism, I wanted to share a positive story of something I witnessed while on vacation this past March.  
We arrived at the resort and we immediately decided to get something to eat at one of the restaurants by the pool.   I noticed another table nearby us that had 4 healthy adults and then one woman who was in a wheelchair.  The woman in the wheelchair hands were balled in fists, her face was contorted and she needed help eating.   I watched the group interact and I noted how inclusive they were of their friend in the wheelchair.   They were all laughing and I noticed how lovingly one of the men was feeding the woman in the wheelchair.   I started to build their story in my head and was thinking that this man is crazy in love with this woman.  I figured that these two were married, and that she had a rapidly progressive muscular or neurological condition.   He looked like a handsome Elvis impersonator, and he just doted on the woman, all the while laughing and telling stories.    
After lunch we went into the pool and 20 minutes later, who do I see in the water, but this man carrying this woman.     Now, as you can imagine, everything kind of stopped, people stared at this man carrying this woman who was stiff as a board, weighing about 90 lbs into the water.    He was ever so gentle with her making sure her head was above water at all times.  Eventually he put a floatation device under her but she was totally at his mercy.   I can’t imagine the amount of trust that she would need to allow herself to be put into a pool.    There was a waterfall in the middle of the pool that people could go under and he took her under multiple times.   I overheard him tell her to let him know when she has had enough.   Pure Love!    It just exuded from this man.   Are you thinking I have a nose problem right about now???   Like the fact that I am nosey???   Yes, I am very nosey and I like to watch people and figure out their story and what motivates them.   I am honestly the person that you would say “Take a picture!  It lasts longer!”
The next day, I see him wheeling her to the local store.   I think to myself how much effort that takes for him to include her.   How much easier it would be for him to “run quickly” to the store by himself.   He wouldn’t have to be concerned for her safety, ensuring that she can get up the ramp to the store and then maneuvering around the store itself.   I have great admiration for him as a caregiver. 
The following day we are at a different pool at the resort and lo and behold, here this man is again with this woman by the pool.   Once again as he carries this woman to the pool, voices quiet, heads turn and people stare.    My nosy self can’t stop watching them, I am so intrigued.   One of the women in his group comes into the pool and gives him a break.   I watch the two women and I notice them talking to one another.   The man comes back into the water and the woman gently dips her head and kisses the woman on the floatation device on the lips.   Okay, now I am thinking they must be sisters.     So I mosey, my nosy self (with Kai) over towards them and I finally get up enough courage to engage them in conversation.    The story that I have created by watching them is totally wrong, he is not her husband but the woman’s father and the woman that kissed her is her mom.   They both looked young for their age.   The fact that the story changed, didn’t change the authentic, raw and pure love that I witnessed.   I was in awe that these people traveled from Canada with a child who needs 24 hour care.   They were not only engaged with her every time I saw them, but lovingly engaged with her.   As I spoke with them, I learned that Francine, the daughter, was their first born and she has Cerebral Palsy.   They were not victimized by her condition or downtrodden but rather embraced it and enjoyed her and made no apologies if her condition  made other people feel uncomfortable.  
To see people love another human being so unselfishly inspires me to be a better person, a better mom, a better friend, a better sister, a better wife and just a better human being. 

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