Love can come in all kinds of forms and presents itself in various ways. Of course, there is romantic love, but many other forms also exist. As a person who has a severe physical disability, such as cerebral palsy, people have shown love to me in all kinds of ways. Unfortunately, negativity often spreads faster than positivity. February is the month to celebrate love, and I would like to share the ways people have shown love to me and others with disabilities.
Have you ever been in an awkward situation and a stranger helped you? Two situations from my college days come to my mind when I think about awkward situations. First, I was going to the college bookstore, and in the elevator, my shoe fell off. I’m not able to pick up things off the floor because of coordination, and I definitely can’t get my shoe back on from my wheelchair. I was, of course, the only one in the elevator and quickly tried to think of what I was going to do. The elevator door opened, and a group was standing there. I felt embarrassed and tried to explain the situation. One guy smiled and tried to ease my embarrassment with humor. He assisted me, putting my shoe back on and I thanked him.
Another situation happened when I was crossing the street. My college is situated in the middle of a major snow belt. Snow and ice aren’t the best for wheelchairs, and you need to learn how to navigate. My wheelchair stopped in the middle of the street and just wouldn’t go. Cars were coming, and I was very frightened. Just like that, other students appeared and started pushing my wheelchair until it became unstuck! I felt a great sense of relief that they helped me and I was out of danger. Small acts of kindness have the greatest reward.
Two weeks ago, I woke up to the unpleasant realization that I had a stomach virus. I knew within minutes how the rest of my Saturday would go. My daughter heard me in the bathroom, and she immediately jumped into action by holding back my hair. She also got me a wet washcloth and said encouraging words to me. My son also felt bad for me and gave me encouragement. I can’t physically help my kids when they’re sick, but I do send kind words and guide them to do the best that they can. My husband took over in helping me, but both kids were in and out to check on me all day.
I need assistance when eating meals. More than once, I’ve had people, some I knew and some I didn’t, offer me aid. Many who know me have said that it is an honor to feed me. I find it to be extremely humbling to hear that, and it makes me feel less than a burden. I also like it when I’m at a restaurant and the waitstaff puts straws in my cup.
This month, keep in mind how love and kindness matter when meeting others. Offer a friendly smile or assistance and it can make someone’s day!
Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cerebral Palsy News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cerebral palsy.