Realizing it was RP Awareness Month, I've been reflecting on some of the days when the significance of Retinitis Pigmentosa was very present in my life.
Sometimes we work so hard to move forward that in the midst of a change we don't perhaps give ourselves the love and compassion. Today 24 years later, I'm giving that young wife and mom, who had to make a major life change some love and compassion. Today is a busy day -- saying good bye to our beautiful daughter, Natalie before 9 clients doing what I love (Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor at the practice I built 11 years ago) at Resilient Solutions, Inc. My guide dog Georgie will spend most of the day sleeping peacefully with a nice walk mid-day. I feel joy and gratitude. This journey isn't easy yet the people I have met, the lessons I have learned, the strength that has come, the creativity, flexibility, patience I have learned have blessed my life.
Each day at the office I hear beautiful self-compassion letters I've encouraged clients to write to themselves. Here's mine for the day.
Dear Beck, Sending some love and compassion to that mom both the young one of past years and the one today. You keep finding a way. You have learned creativity, compassion, and patience for the journey. In the early years it wasn't only you trying to figure out how to get a ride -- you had two sweet children that needed to get to their activities. You took it a day at a time with joy and gratitude. You reached out of your comfort zone, became vulnerable, and learned amazing lessons. It still can be hard at times, yet you do it with a smile on your face. You got this! Love, Beck
February 28, 1993. As a young mom, age 28 with a 1st grader and a 3rd grader it was time; I quit driving. It had been something weighing on our minds. I had restricted my driving to short, close places during the day time. I was basically driving to the school I worked at just a few miles away and to the grocery store. Steve was working in SLC and did not have a lot of flexibility to help with transportation during the day. He did all he could and more, for sure. Incredible friends and neighbors stepped in and gave me rides and made that transition so much easier. I will be forever grateful.
As I share in my book, Look up, move forward: For such a momentous day, Monday, February 28, was a little anti-climatic. I didn't hand over my driver's license to a state official. No one came and took the car away. I just hung up my keys on their little hook in the kitchen and didn't ever use them again. I was done driving. Forever. page 51.
Time again to live by my familiar mantra: one day at a time. Take it one day at a time in gratitude and joy. By this time, I realized there must be a way to do this. I had met many people who managed to live wonderful lives without driving. We could do this.
It wasn't an easy day to face that unknown future. This was before uber/lyft, even cell phones to text someone asking for a ride. It was one of those losses that you just had to keep moving forward and navigate.
If you are reading this and facing this transition, please know you are not alone. Also, give yourself permission to grieve and process the loss. Surround yourself with supportive people as you navigate the adjustment. Believe that you can do what you set your mind to do. Know that destination you want to travel to is still there and attainable ... at times we just have to get more creative.
The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. CC Scott
With love, Becky Andrews