|Spring Break, 2020
Whelp, it's Saturday again.
Let's talk about service, shall we? There's service to one's country and service to one's god or goddess and there's service to one's fellow man or woman or non-binary human. I've been thinking that we caregivers of disabled persons have service down. We've got it honed. Despite what you've heard probably way too often (mea culpa) about the difficulties and burdens of service, there are infinitely more benefits to have been called to do so -- to serve -- than you could possibly imagine. Yesterday some cool literary person invited me to join one of those Facebook groups for writers, so I figured why not and posted a brief introduction to myself in which I said that I was a writer and a caregiver to a severely disabled young adult. A probable well-meaning woman responded with a "heart" and wrote: "It makes you look into a mirror and realize my life could be worse and it gives you even more compassion."
Let me be of service to you, please.
Comments like that make me look into a mirror and pledge to do better in expressing myself -- to demonstrate that caring for a severely disabled young adult is the opportunity of a lifetime. It's hard as shit, especially when decades pass and you're basically doing the same stuff, but it transforms you in the best of ways, ways that others might envy rather than thanking their lucky stars.
Are ya'll thinking I've eaten too many CBD gummies?
The Virus does make caregiving more difficult because all the supports you normally have, if you're lucky -- things like caregivers, day programs, entertainment, music therapy, outings, etc. -- stop, abruptly. It's reminded me of the early days of caring for Sophie -- the long, long hours where ritual and routine take on a whole different meaning. I find myself investing the regular routines with meaning, and the meaning is service.
The village is hunkered down, though, and our children and young adults might not know why or what's happened. I do think Sophie knows on some deep, intense level that the entire earth has tilted, and I am certain that other exquisitely sensitive souls who have no ability to communicate and are thought deficient do, too. Yesterday, the adult day program that Sophie normally attends had a music session on Zoom. It was a beautiful thing to watch.
How do you do it? people say, or I couldn't do what you do and that makes us laugh -- sometimes bitterly with disappointment but mostly with glee because we know that we can and so can you. I don't want to wrap this up with a bow, but so can you. We can all do it, together. Serve. Be of service.