Tears caused by my changing abilities have caused me to reflect on what is happening now. How will I adjust to these losses?
Tears. Driving home on Thursday I could feel my eyes starting to flood. Listening to a podcast about how you had to face your fears I realised that I was in the middle of a whirling vortex of emotions. The trigger was that I had been looking at an electric wheelchair.
Walking with my partner around Connemara has been a constant joy for me. Hand in hand, talking about life, the past, the future. The conversation would meander around our lives. This understanding of each other, I feel, is part of the bond that has been forged by love. In the last year, the walks have become fewer and fewer.
This change is caused by my inability to walk. Short distances are ok. A trip around the grocery shop doesn’t phase me, it is slow and quick. However, a real walk just isn’t possible any more. I am too disabled, and it is a struggle to get my right leg to cooperate. With this reality, I felt that if I had an electric wheelchair, the hour-long walks would return. Even though I am seated, we would be together.
But this act of using a device to help me move feels like an acceptance of, or giving in to, my disability. I am disabled. I have lost an ability that I had. The reality struck me in the car, driving home, that many of my old skills are beyond my reach. This cruel illness, plus chronic pain, is stealing from me every day. It feels like I am no longer that strong cliff face, resolute against the storm of life. The steep walls are crumbling, falling apart. The sea of illness is winning this battle.
Shaking the tears away, I clenched my jaw, tightened my grip on the steering wheel, and vowed, again, that I should be seen for my ability. Not for what I am losing, but for what I am gaining. The phrase that has been stuck in my head for the last few days is:
Let adversity no longer add weight to your anchor, may it fill your sails.
It is challenging to do, and many times I feel weighed down, but I have to find a route that I can chart that will give me strength, power. Being sick is a reality, but it doesn’t have to be the centre of who I am. I am a creator, not a destroyer.