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.


4 thoughts on “Helper

  1. I’m sorry not to follow along, but needing help seems to be very human. We just sang a song in church about letting me be your servant and allowing someone else to be your servant, too. I’ll have to give it some more thought.

    I know someone who is aging and could be described as almost desparate when her body fails. I know it is very tough, but is it appropriate to not be honest with those who love you and are trying to help? Those of us trying to help are not trying to be pushy nor take over. We just sometimes see things through a different lens. Hmmm.

    • I agree with you, Linda. It’s not so much needing help that is the problem, it is my attitude toward needing help that can be a problem. If I dwell on the times I am being helped and fail to see the ways I am a helper, I devalue my contribution to our family. Other people do not see the full dynamic of our marriage and so may praise John for how “good” he is to me. I can’t let that make affect the way I see myself. I did not realize, until I was the helper, that I had fallen into a bit of self-pity and I am working on breaking free from that. Also, I can’t let myself give in the temptation to give up doing tasks I can still do just because it is easier to let someone else do them. I agree that the most important thing is honest communication between me and those who are helping me.

  2. Belinda,
    Thank you for sharing this. My fiancee is often telling me he wants to help and be a part of tasks which might be easier for me to just do than for me to talk him through how to help me…

    You have given me a fresh view of why I should take a deep breath, slow down and ask for his help.


    • Tracy, thank you for your comment. I never realized how much being left out of ordinary tasks discourages and dehumanizes me. So, yes, I think you should ask your fiance for help with as many things as possible. My experience really made me think and I am very aware now of people that treat me like a child or as if I am helpless. I will no longer allow this, since it starts a vicious cycle in which I begin to see myself very negatively. Thank you so much for giving me additional food for thought on this subject.

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