While unloading Ryan from the van at a store, it is not unusual for someone to ask about our accessible van. The questions are always the same. How much did it cost, where did we get it, and did insurance pay for it? Next they proceed to tell me about the person in their life who needs one. I don’t mind answering the questions about the van, and I always try to ask a few questions about the person they care for. After a few minutes, we say our good-byes. As I walk away, I often find myself fighting the tears. These are usually older men who are now finding themselves as care-givers for their wives.
It’s not their story that brings me to tears, it’s what they aren’t saying. I see it on their face and hear it in their voice. I feel the loneliness. I sense their fatigue and often identify with their struggle and how life has changed and will continue to change for them. It is my hope and prayer that in those few minutes of conversation they see that someone else does get it, understands, and cares.
I really do understand, because I know that lurking behind all of these feelings is isolation! Feelings of isolation and are all too familiar. Even with the ability to get out with Ryan it isn’t easy. While I may be a social person by nature, Ryan is not. It is hard for him to want to leave the house. Home for him is his safe place. As a result, we spend many long days at home, just the two of us.