For the last few months, I have been the “disabled” person in my family, the person needing help. John has taken me to appointment after appointment and supported me and helped me. I have heard people praise him for his patience with my “condition” and tell him how wonderful he is. While it is true that he has been wonderful, hearing other people tell him things like this has left me feeling very bad about myself. It made me see myself as someone to be pitied, somehow less than human.
Today, I got to be the helper. John needed a medical procedure (since he just turned fifty) and he needed me. I listened to him as he went through the prep, drove him to the surgery center, waited in the waiting room, listened to the doctor’s instructions, and drove him home. I was the strong, supportive one. It felt really great. It restored me to feeling human.
Wow! This was all a big revelation to me. Until I experienced the pleasure of being a helper, I had no idea how demoralizing it has been to constantly be the “troubled” one. Interesting. I have to think about how I am going to handle my feelings as my vision deteriorates. It is going to be very important for me to learn to keep my self-esteem and maintain my dignity and humanity no matter what happens with my vision. If other people pity me or think I am a burden to John, that is their problem. It does not affect the way John feels about me. I can not allow that to touch me. With low vision, with legal blindness, with a disability, I will always be a whole person who deserves to be treated (and to treat myself) with dignity and respect. I will always be a beloved child of God.