Tag Archive | disability

Wounds hurt, but they don’t define

Been dealing with a lot lately that has been bringing on the pressure and opening a well of old memories I would rather just never come back. Been up most of the night due to a migraine and a 9 year old who just can’t sleep no matter how hard we tried. That means I have had time to think. Watched a couple movies to keep the thinking at bay as long as I could, but decided at some point I just got to let the thoughts flow so I can process and work through them.
 
One of the things that came up strongest was my disabilities and the way life has been forced to change because of them. On the outside, I may look to some like I’ve got this living with disabilities thing down. I may look strong, resilient, tough, full of faith, and ready to laugh off anything this life can throw at me. Sometimes I am those things. Sometimes I am merely attempting to convince myself that I am capable of those things.
 
Reality is that it’s a deep fight within me to keep pushing forward. A lot of prayer, a lot of suppressed tears and anger, and even fear. I refuse to give up, but there are times when I can’t run from reality… where reality instead smacks me a good one in the face. It hurts, but it’s real, and I have a great and loving Father in Heaven that holds me up, or pulls me back up off the ground if need be. He never gives up on me and helps me to not give up on myself. I will be forever grateful for that. Especially after moments like what I faced yesterday. To the outside looking in it was small, probably insignificant. Nothing I haven’t had to say or admit before; no new news to swallow. It still stung though and I fought hard to avoid facing the moment I could see coming from a mile off.
 
Without revealing the personal surrounding details, I basically found myself being faced with someone who was questioning and borderline challenging my commitment to do what needed to be done. My independence, my “work ethic” vs laziness so to speak. She went after my disabled status and finally forced the moment I was trying to avoid when she tried to push once more that I just wasn’t wanting to try and included a comment along the lines of “Why won’t you work? You can’t be disabled 24/7”.
 
It was in that moment that she ripped open one of my most painful wounds. One that has resulted in a lot of trauma, a lot of loss, a lot of change. One that I still can’t look at straight on without tears in my eyes and fire in my heart as the memories flood back to that first time waking up in a foreign hospital in Germany; the last thing I remembered being trying to walk down the hall to greet my husband who was returning home from work. That day was the start of a life changing nightmare of questions, mysterious illness, my body betraying me one system after another with no understandable reason as to why at the time.
 
After a couple of years of fighting, finding answers I didn’t like, trying to pretend I was ok even though we all knew I was only getting worse, and trying to force life to go back to “normal”, I found myself sitting in front of a judge. Sitting there, fighting back the tears and attempting to keep a straight face as I felt my back dislocate and my hip fall out of place, knowing that meant I would not be able to stand up when it was time to do so. Reading the judgement that came in the mail not long after… effectively forcing me out of the workforce for my own good and banning me from returning.
 
All of this and more came flooding into my mind and heart as I heard that woman utter those words… “you can’t be disabled 24/7″… Unfortunately… yes you can. My response to her was that I was forced out of the workforce by a court judge because I am THAT disabled. For her, that was end of that. Conversation took a different turn and she backed off in that area. For me though, the wound of the past is sitting here staring me in the face once again. I need to learn to quit being so fearful of facing it. Like it or not, it’s a part of me now. It doesn’t need to define me though. Thank God in Heaven that it doesn’t need to define me.
 
The world sees me as broken, past my prime, cast off. Being disabled is the end of the line for general society; they don’t tend to look past it well. Once you can’t fit their mold, or do all they think you should, what you still can do doesn’t amount to much in their eyes.   God however tells me I am beautiful, his daughter, a masterpiece in the making, and that I have a future worth being here for. Best of all he promises that He’s got a plan and will not let anything go to waste. Even an old wound that has caused so much damage and changed so much, can be used to help make a beautiful future if it is handed over to God. ❤

Bringing Back the Play

Lately, my struggles with health have seemed to take over my life in many ways.  I’ve struggled with anger, depression, frustration, and more in reaction to the changes I have been forced to make in order to compensate for it all.  Earlier this evening though, after a long day, I got a beautiful reminder of the truth of that old saying, “when God closes a door, He always opens a window“.  One of the biggest things my unstable joints and weakened health has taken from me is the ability to get down on the floor and play with my kids building legos, putting together puzzles, playing with trains, rolling around in tickle fights, playing in forts made of sheets and tables, etc.

Truth be told, I still can’t do those things like I used to, and the few times I have tried to anyway, my body quickly and severely reminded me of why I couldn’t.  I’ve tried replacing the missed fun with things that could be done at chair and table levels, like piano and coloring and watching more movies together, and with things the kids could do with other people, but both my children and I still felt the loss.  Yesterday evening though, I blissfully found myself in a position of playing and enjoying my children to the fullest, being right in the middle of their smiles and laughter and imagination again instead of having to watch from the sidelines.  No, nothing changed in regards to my health or limitations.  I was actually bed bound at the time from a headache, weak leg that kept giving out, a weak shoulder, and a problem with persistent dizziness every time I tried to sit up.

So what was different?  Perspective, and accommodation.  My children needed to clean their toys up after dumping most of their collection all over the floor.  I needed to lay down and rest but wanted to still be near them so I chose the bed in the messy room.  After a short while, the boys decided to climb up to be with me.  At first, it was just some loving cuddles and hugs and some sweet well-meaning actions like pulling the blanket up to my shoulders, brushing my hair away from my eyes like I do for them, etc.  Then David, true to his nature of seeing things in different ways than the majority, leaned in close to my face, briefly looked at my eyes before darting his gaze to my nose (eye contact is hard for him), and smiled at me.

Not just a simple, sweet, ordinary smile either.  One filled with laughter dancing at the edges and mischief hiding in the dimples.  I took his cue and reached out and bopped his nose with my finger setting off a string of giggles which ended in him climbing up to join me on the bed.  I couldn’t move much, and I couldn’t sit up, but that didn’t stop him from finding a way to play with me and we both enjoyed every second of it.  His brother, Joshua, soon joined in too once he saw what we were up to; entertaining himself with climbing up on my side and then giggling when I would roll slightly and cause him to plop back down to the bed.  David’s favorite game was seeing how close he could get before I kissed his nose or tickled his cheeks or neck. lol  When I grew too tired to continue and my headache got worse, they cuddled close to me and listened to music from the radio for while.  David even seemed to know when he needed to calm down again and simply snuggled up close, pulling the blanket over us both, and started playing with my hair.

I never got on the floor with them like old times, I barely moved, and I couldn’t even sit up, but we had a lot of fun anyway and made memories all three of us now treasure.  Last night I was reminded it’s not so much in what we can or can’t do, but in finding a way to make the most of what we can do and putting our heart into it, that make moments turn into bonding time and treasured memories.  So I can’t wrestle around on the floor with them anymore or help them build extensive forts and crawl in after them.  I can’t get down on their level and play in their world of endless trains, blocks, and other toys like I used to. It may even be a long time still before I can take them back on our favorite outings like the zoo or museum.  But thanks to one little mischievous and laughter filled smile, and my kids meeting me half way, all three of us discovered a new way to play together that brought the laughter back to it’s fullest.

The best part of it all?  What David said shortly afterward, when I recovered enough strength to move to the couch while they were watching one of their shows on the Roku…

“Mommy, I like spending time with you.”

I feel the same way about you buddy. ❤
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