One of the most frustrating things about being disabled, whether by accident, illness, or aging is the limited ability to help. I am restricted in what I can do to assist in simple household tasks or, in my case, for example, to aid in the care of Bodhi-cleaning up his pees or poops or putting on the grip socks he needs for his weakened legs. And often when I offer to pitch in, the response I get is that it’s easier if I do nothing, I may even be getting in the way.
So the fact of my dependency upon others affords them, desired or not, opportunities to give. I am left with a question of what I can share with others
than thanks and good humor. Sometimes, I cruise the web looking for short handled brooms or mops or scoopers, but little encouragement comes my way.
Christmas Eve day, waiting on my wheelchair in front of the house, a woman walked by and asked how my dog was, as she has not seen me on my wheelchair bike in her neighborhood where we regularly rode for many years as part of our exercise routine. “We haven’t been out much lately,” I responded. “He has something like I have and it’s difficult for him to walk much. “ As I rolled into the van, I started sobbing. I feel so useless to Bodhi and he, I realize, in the simple present centeredness of dog being, is so helpful to me. Again my teacher, for he has no complaint, no complaint at all.
And, of course, that is the point. My helpless unhelpfulness is not extraordinary. There are so many people in this world in situations so much more terrible that I am almost ashamed to write of mine. Families under falling bombs, parents of very ill children. I need not go on listing so many who can only see and suffer. At least I can reflect without fear the love my beloveds give me.