Saturday, March 16, 2013

Facing reality...again.

For the past 10 months, I've been feeling lonely. In some ways I feel like I'm single, because so many of the activities that Aaron & I used to do together we're no longer able to share anymore. When we first bought our property, I felt a renewed hope about the future & what we planned to accomplish. Even though I know his physical limitations, I had visions of us clearing the land together & exploring the 85 acres together. However, reality is smacking us in the face again. The photo to the left is our property that runs beside a creek. When we received an aerial survey on our land last month, we realized that it's part of our property. I was determined to clear the brush & find the old fence line. I pulled debris out of the creek bed, cleared sticker vines & removed small trees. The photo below was taken after 8 hours of manual labor, which I did alone. It would've been great to have Aaron by my side helping in whatever way he could, but he can't in his manual wheelchair, so I took these photos to show him what I did. Sometimes I feel guilty coming back after working the property & telling him how much I accomplished & how pretty the land is, but I don't know which is worse: sharing my enthusiasm or keeping quiet.
     We purchased an ATV for Aaron to get around, but the reality is that an ATV can't get through thick brush. It's too wide. For those of you that grew up in the country, you may be thinking, "well, of course not" but I grew up in the city & had no idea what country living would be like. Honestly, I think that Aaron has had a reality check too and it sucks to see him experience that. He thought he would be able to do more. He told me that he feels guilty when I'm outside working on the property & he can't get outside to help me. It leaves him feeling less capable, less like the man he was before his injury & frustrated. I overheard him on the phone recently telling a friend about the property & how much there is to do. Then I heard him say, "I bought all this property and then reality hit that **it I'm paralyzed."
      How do you recover from events that have happened to your body, mind  and spirit? How do you connect with your loved one when the activities that you used to do together are no longer an option? What do you do when you have begun to move forward, live life again, but your loved one isn't able to?  I've been asking myself these questions for years now. I wish I knew the answers.
     The only answer I have for now is that we're learning to ask for help. We're blessed with some amazing neighbors, that are in their 70's, that helped us cut up a couple felled trees. A couple of Aaron's friends came out for a week to help clear some brush. A group from our church is coming out in April to help me burn 45 brush piles that I cleared off the fence line & to stack the wood from the felled trees.You can only call in so many favors though before people get tired of helping. I'll be honest though, I'd rather have Aaron do all these things with me. I know that he'd rather be a participant than a spectator, because life is better when you're part of the action. I wish that he could access the places that aren't accessible with the ATV. The only solution is to purchase a "track chair" but at a cost of $15,000 and a V.A. not willing to purchase one (its considered a recreational item) it'll be a long time before that happens. Never mind the fact that he has fallen regularly when trying to maneuver his manual chair around in the dirt & rocks outside & it's comes down to a safety issue. I get it. I understand that the VA has a budget to keep. I'm hoping to find a non-profit to assist us, which I know is asking a lot, but I have faith that something will come about.
     So, I apologize that this post is not my normal upbeat, brighter side of life perspective, but it's simply that I'm facing reality...again. I don't like it, but I will press on like I always do. One day at a time in this life I now call a scavenger hunt!

P.S. If you're curious about track chairs (they're really functional) go to: