Updated: Jan 27, 2019
How do we avoid spinning into the darkness so easily introduced by a disability? Faced with daily obstacles, mounting frustrations, and a consistent feeling of "this just isn't fair", how can you ensure a happy home for yourself and your family? Easy. Laugh about it. All of it.
Some time ago I looked at my wife during a particularly trying day and said "You know, this would have been a lot easier if you could have just gotten ONE sclerosis? We could have handled that. But you had to get MULTIPLE sclerosis." And we both laughed. And my kids laughed. And the air in the room changed. The day, which up until that point was filled with frustration, was suddenly salvaged.
The Power of Laughter Should Never be Forgotten
One of my many jobs as a spouse, and as a parent, is to introduce happiness into our home. Obviously, every family - and every household - experiences times of grief or sadness. Those times are multiplied when a love one experiences a disability. My wife certainly doesn't need my permission to shed some tears - or scream at the top of her lungs for that matter - but I do ask that she do it quickly. We have lives to lead. We have our kids to enjoy. We have family and friends to visit. We have new restaurants to eat at and new movies to see. The latest binge-worthy show on Netflix is not going to watch itself! So, let's get on with it. And let's laugh a lot while we're doing whatever it is that we're doing.
Like getting in and out of the car at Target. When it's raining. We know what's coming when I park in one of the many handicapped spots available (Thank You Target!), and we're laughing even before getting out of the car. My kids tell my wife, "Mom, it's raining, you have to move fast!" which of course, is not an option. My wife, Sue, is laughing at the circumstance and the ridiculous request. I quickly get out of the car, unfold the wheelchair from the trunk, swiftly arrive at the side of Sue's door to find her…nowhere close to getting out of the car. The rain is pelting me and the kids while we wait. "Mom!" my kids yell while laughing, "we're getting soaked!" I remind my wife, "Sue, regardless of your neurological disorder, I would really appreciate it if you could move a little faster," which makes Sue laugh even harder and in turn move even slower.
In moments like that I try to embrace the lunacy of it all. The fact that 4 years ago we lived completely different lives. I look at other couples and other families walking in and out of Target. They just park their car…and walk in. I barely remember what that's like. At that moment, I can choose to weep for the past and let the anger swallow me whole, or I can feel the rain, look at the smile on my wife's face, and laugh with those that I love. I choose to laugh.
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