Nov 11 2012 in Caring for Spouse and Kids by roaringmouse
I am still in tears, humbled and honored.
A game show, Denise said. “Okay…but I’m horribly out of touch with current events.” “Don’t worry. It will be fun!”
Denise and Bette you were right, I had fun and laughter. Something I hadn’t had in a long time on a Sunday night. In the background I was worried though because my daughter has a bad allergy cough and at one point thought she was going to choke. Instead it quieted in the background.
Richard, Squirrel, EJ, Trish and Jane: I’m so glad you were at this get-together too and thank you for your help. It was the first time I was in an environment after my husband’s passing that I truly felt I was just plain “human.” Accepted for who I was–gosh what a treat! Again, my humble thank yous!
By the way Richard you knew the Smurf as much as I know about football. The only reason I could answer the Lions is because I grew up in Michigan. But never ever went to any game, nor watched any sports on TV. I am a true nerd! Florida has fish, and Georgia has a bulldog, that’s as close as anything I know about sports. Next time, let’s trade questions! <grin!>
But the reason why I am crying (happy tears!) is the honor of Caregiving.com’s offer to me help a Sandy survivor/caregiver. This is a project that I have been working on in the last 48 hours. Most of you know that my “schtick” is persons with disabilities and emergency preparedness. YES! This includes caregivers!!! (But that is a topic for another day!) After six years (the mission found me!), I have learned I am being considered an expert on the topic. (Ha! Ha! I’m just a caregiver, even if it is in the After sense now.) Anyway a “friend” in the trenches called me the other night, “Laura, when you talk to him and you hear his story. Gosh I just can’t let it go!” I then spoke with “the story” and followed it up with a conversation to a Coast Guard rescuer who has befriended him as well.
(As I currently understand the “story”.)
Bill was living in a basement apartment in New Jersey with his elderly parents (one who has severe diabetes) who he cares for in New Jersey. (I think near the Boardwalk.) When the city decided to evacuate they shut down the transportation systems without giving those with disabilities a chance to plan. When the Coast Guard arrived as “Sandy” was coming in, the waves were already over the boardwalk. They arrived at Bill’s house to watch as the landlord refused to open the door. The door was knocked down and all four windows in the basement blew in. Sewage water rose quickly to their knees. Bill and his parents (whom he oversees everything for) were rescued and a rescuer stayed nearby them for 48 hours to make sure they had their needs met.
This was always what I was afraid would happen to my husband due to lack of accommodations in emergency management design. This is why I do what I do.
But there’s another piece. I still have Hubby’s power chair. I had been told, Just donate it. But for Hubby and I that was too easy. I had held onto it thinking maybe I’d sell it for a pittance or maybe there would be a story.
Back to my “friend” as he’s telling me about this story and a man who needs his power wheelchair replaced. The light went off! This is how Hubby and I always worked. It was our signature to “do” for the challenges and donate to those where everyone felt they couldn’t or wouldn’t for whatever reason. “I have a chair for him!” “What?!” “I have a chair for him!”
So besides helping trying to help a Center for Independent Living in Harlem, I am now also helping someone in NJ. I have been knee-deep in trying to make contacts to arrange for a bunch of Hubby’s things to go to both places. The phone calls have been furious.
So when Squirrel decided to offer her gift to a stranger, Richard offered as well and Denise followed with her idea… I’ve been crying ever since. I called up the rescuer and told him what happened tonight. He was stunned. I finally heard a smile from that first responder’s voice. So we’ve decided that we are not going to tell Bill but that we want to surprise him. I can hardly wait to tell my “friend.” I bet he’ll smile too. He admitted he probably won’t be seeing his family till after the first of the year.
I pray for these rescuers who work with persons with disabilities every day.
The rescuer has promised me that he will get me a brief essay/bio on the whole thing that I can post here that will elaborate on the situation.
I have never received an honor higher then that Caregiving.com/AfterGiving.com has given me tonight and that is of family helping out in a situation such as this.
I am deeply indebted to you all.
The Roaring Mouse