July 4, 2020 at 5:40 pm
Mary and Cam, thanks for the input. This is great.
Deborah shared with me more details about their trip.
That night, Johnny was biten by so many mosquitos that his left thigh was red and swollen. His Tshirt was drenched with sweat. And there was no place to take a shower. There was no bathroom. Johnny had to find a bush to do it and cover cover whatever he left with dirt and fallen leaves. The boy begged mom to leave, and Deborah reminded him Nick lived here for 16 years.
Imagine Johnny and Nick had a heart to heart conversation in their nice middle class home in America, air conditioned, with a glass of soft drink. Will Johny ever learn how his dad did it? Without filling such a critical gap in understanding, will Johnny embrace Nick like he is doing now?
Deborah built a bridge bringing Johnny from side of tolerating Nick to side of embracing Nick. Our friend in South Africa has a very cool idea with a similar goal. They want to bring caregivers, families and friends from tolerating survivors to embacing them.
The South African team would like invite people to wear a blue glove on the less used hand. Then ask them to do things only with that hand for at least a few hours. Needless to say, people will struggle. Then they will ask, imagine your loved one using only one hand to do things for the rest of the life, and despite that, they are still emailing you happy birthday cards and cooking for you.
To embrace is to accept. Before people come to the side of acceptance, a crucial gap has to be filled, not conceptually but experientially. As survivors and stroke support groups, what can we do?
Survivors and caregivers, share your thoughts.