It was while watching Oprah with my Mom yesterday, that I realized something important. It was about a Dr that studies brains who had a stroke. She recovered and is able to share her story. It was interesting to me because parts of her story are familiar to me, and yet others are very different. I heard Oprah say it changed her after reading this womans book. I loved to hear about her experience and recovery. She said she would see people who had strokes and brain injuries in a new way. The most profound part for me was the womans experience while in the hospital with the nurses and Drs. She described how she could feel their intentions and energy toward her, and it impacted her feeling either safe or cautious with them. For those who were kind and touched her and tried to connect to her as a person, it changed how she felt about working to heal, and trying to connect to the world around her. It made all the difference if the nurses showed compassion, and saw her. Really saw her.
It was important to hear this message because there are wonderful people in the medical profession, and teaching and caregiving, but they are often very distracted and distant. This was our experience too. If it weren’t for my Mom interfering the thoughts Drs and therapists and teachers had about me, I wouldn’t have a voice, and I certainly wouldn’t be seen for who I am. I would be seen as someone who is silent, unimportant and without purpose, who uses a lot of services, needs a lot of care, makes funny sounds, drools, someone who is a big challenge, someone who just doesn’t fit in.
If those of us who are visibily disabled were treated with the same respect and kindness as the most important person in your life, this world would be so different. But most of us are put in places we are not seen and often go unloved. I know God knows who we are. It’s the only thing that keeps us going sometimes. I am so fortunate to have my family love and respect me. I know I am loved. I am seen. I am unusual that I am still at home with my family. I have some really wonderful people in my life who see me. It is not easy to meet my needs, but I know that what I offer to my family is important to them. And for that I am fortunate and very blessed.
Please give the overlooked people in this world your attention, your goodwill, your respect, your face. Really see them.