Tuesday, December 29, 2009

In the Reception Room

I went to the doctor's today, just to get a new prescription for orthopedic shoes. It was cold and rainy, and I was glad to find parking and get inside without falling down. I signed in and took a seat.

Across from me, a pleasant woman maybe a decade older than me spoke in soft Tejano accents with a man near my age. Their level of ease with each other indicated they were family. The man was called in for his visit and after he left, the woman looked at me and smiled like she had something she just had to say.

"Are you here to see the doctor?"

"Yes, just to get a prescription."

"You are so lovely. You look very good."

Well! Well! Now, that's a good start to anyone's day!

A bit embarrassed, I thanked her and asked how her Christmas had been. "Oh, very nice." She was visiting her niece, she told me. I asked where she had come in from. Laredo. I said I hoped she'd flown, because it is too long a drive.

"And how was your Christmas?" she asked, turning the subject back to me.

"Good. I spent it with my daughter and son-in-law."

A moment's pause.

"Are you a widow?"

I suppose I looked confused, so she repeated herself, and I realized I just hadn't accounted for her accent. A widow.

"No, just divorced for many years. Are you widowed, then?"

Yes, she told me, eight years now. Her eyes focused on an inner place of her heart.

"It was a freak accident, the day before Thanksgiving. My husband was diabetic."

"A car accident?" I was thinking of the diabetics I have known who have misjudged their sugar level and had serious, though fortunately, not fatal, accidents.

"No. We were at home. I was busy in another part of the house. He was painting the bathroom. Somehow, he fell. He must have hit his head, and he cut himself badly. By the time I came to check on him, he had bled to death."

She smiled. "I get through the days because I know he waits for me. I look forward to when we are together again."

Her family member came out and sat down, apparently needing to wait for his shot to take effect and preferring the drafty reception room and the company of his aunt to the sterility of the examination room.

"Until then, I must live everyday."

"Because that's what he would want for you, to live fully?"

"Yes." She looked at the man beside her, and smiled. I'd say she beamed with love, but that would give the impression that she wasn't beaming with love before. You could tell, from her despairing heart, she pours her love into those around her.

You know what? She was so lovely.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Xmas: survived!

It isn't that I hate Xmas. I don't have any negative feelings about it. I just don't love it, not the way that the incessant carols and advertising and build-up since before Halloween insist that I should. I enjoy New Year's Day much more, with its simple meal and quiet contemplation. And the week preceding, when I put away all the claptrap of Xmas and try to get out of the way any business holding over from this current year so that I can start freshly on the 1st.

But I did have a lovely Xmas. I got an unanticipated phone call from my brother, who merely wanted to chat and ask when I would come to see him. And I spent the day with my daughter and son-in-law, in their underheated, drafty abode, warmed by the fire of my silly girl's love for Xmas. As much as I am indifferent to the day, she is downright bouncing off the wall with excitement for. But, then, she's like that with everything, and it is one of the many endearing traits she has. I came away with tons of gluten-free cookies, all home-baked, and what feels like a literal ton of Japanese language learning magazines. The cookies are becoming ever lighter, but the magazines are still in my car, awaiting the assistance of someone who can not only pick them up but do so without collapsing immediately. So, maybe tonight, then, if the son-in-law comes by.

To everyone, whether your Xmas was good, bad, or indifferent, may the last week of 2009 be the perfect preface for the new year to come.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Japan and disabilities--links

So, to help me on my way, I am collecting informative links about disabilities and society in Japan. These will be news stories and the like. Feel free to send me a link if you find something. I will edit this post as I find new things.

A politician calls for eliminating the "weak". He also plays a ukulele while singing about people who oppose him. I suspect his song must go on quite a bit, because he must have a long line of people who dislike him.

A disabled man is killed by shiftless lowlifes who pocketed his disability income. There should be prize to the first country that figures out how to protect dependent citizens from such vultures.

There's a city that has made an effort to become an accessible tourist attraction. Interesting how that one politician sees people with disabilities as a burden, while a large number of pols in Takayama must see people with disabilities as an opportunity, instead.

A man who has practiced aikido and is biking around Guam. Was that common, 40 years ago, to expect babies with spina bifida to die early? That is surprising to me.