Are you living in a storm? Especially one of physical challenges? Wondering if you and your family can survive? We did: you can, too.
My husband, Joe, and I recently celebrated our 50th anniversary. Of those fifty years, only in the first 12 short years was our family able to live normally. Then came my first totally disabling “injury” which turned out not to be an injury at all. Rather, it was a neuro-muscular condition that healed then turned into a slow downhill slide. That slow slide picked up speed these last few years until now the limitations, all together, are quite disabling.
We worked hard to maintain a healthy family life for our boys who were ten and seven at the time. Both are now professional men with successful families of their own. Even with my limitations, we participate in our grandkids’ lives, adapting activities as necessary. Too many times, though, I’ve had to sit by and watch the fun. Our family has been great about altering plans so I can be included. Yes, our life has been difficult, but we have enjoyed it anyway.
“My” disabilities are not just my problem: they
are OUR problem. We have both had to grieve the losses; it certainly hasn’t been the life we planned.
We have both had to give-and-take a lot. Maybe Joe more than me, since much of the housework has fallen to him - not his favorite activity!
I love to read and do computer stuff to occupy my time, but I very much miss carrying out what I perceive as “my” responsibilities.
Joe misses me joining him in the outdoor activities we love. We still camp, compensating as necessary, but hiking together is no longer possible. My husband pushed my wheelchair for years, and we went some wild places. I now have a scooter, so we do still “hike” together - the accessible trails. Then Joe hikes while I stay in camp.
There has been much compromising and cooperating through the years. We have survived - even thrived - and now have great memories of fifty plus years together!
So, it is possible to live a happy, fulfilled life in spite of life-altering physical challenges. Be proactive. Stay flexible. Be imaginative as you adapt and compensate activities. Keep spiritual lines open.
God is our bedrock, our encourager, our strengthener. He has enabled us to navigate the pain and grief. He has allowed us to see our sons succeed despite a dysfunctional family. He has brought joy in our lives. May God bless you in your stormy journey.
Submitted by: Carole Griffitts
Carole Griffitts and her husband live in eastern Washington. They love outdoor activities and seeing family. They have successfully lived with the limitations from her invisible disabilities for nearly forty years. Carole writes her website, Navigating the Storms, for those living with invisible disabilities and for those who care about them. She lists tips and helps for both groups. She includes links for further information. She seeks to provide encouragement and community for those who struggle. Her goal is to see interaction between visitors.