I wanna be her when I grow up January 22, 2013Posted by philangelus in pensive.
Tags: blindness, elderly, resiliency
Sorry I posted such a sad story yesterday. Let me tell you a less-sad story so maybe you’ll keep coming back.
This woman’s name I don’t remember, but my dispatcher said I’d be bringing her to “the meeting of the blind,” something I later learned was a monthly occurrence.
I ended up at a trailer park on the border of Angeltown and Nowhere At All, with excellent directions. I loved when they gave me directions better than “There’s a tree on the corner — you’ll turn a few blocks before that.” Try to imagine life in the days before Google Maps could get you anywhere — actually, imagine Apple Maps after it’s belted half a bottle of bourbon. Anyhow, this woman gave me quaint landmarks like street names, and directions like “left” and “right” instead of “it’s around there somewhere.” I pulled into her driveway behind a Monstrously Old Brown Car.
She told me her story as we drove: her husband had died a couple of years ago, and afterward, she had gone blind.
She did exactly what anyone would do in that situation, of course. She organized a city-wide support group for blind senior citizens.
That was how this woman spent her days now: on the phone organizing support group meetings and telephone-counseling the elderly who were losing their vision. Right. She was living on her own even though I believe she had family in the area who wanted her to live with them. She apologized for getting a ride from me, but her son had to work. She told me how stubborn the city hall folks were about providing more elderly transportation services and how they kept limiting public transportation. I could tell City Hall would be her next target.
Two huge losses in a few years, and yet she was so upbeat.
When I brought her back home, she pointed to the Monstrously Old Brown Vehicle. “That’s my car.” And then she added, “I can’t bear to sell it. That would be admitting I’m never going to drive again.”
Blind. Never driving again. Good call. Just don’t admit it, and you’ll be fine. And she was.
I understand that kind of spirit doesn’t come out of nowhere. She’d cultivated her resiliency over a lifetime, somehow, day by day. But you know what? When I grow up, I wanna be like her.