Two doctors appointments ago, I asked the nurse practitioner about a handicapped permit. My feet were bothering me and I get winded easy. And, well, I have Stage 4 cancer. I had been thinking about it but felt guilty asking. The moment I brought it up, the NP immediately said she would print it and have it all ready in just a few moments. She was simply waiting for me to ask. The tag office validated my documentation and my doctor and gave me the pass. I have been slowly releasing my guilt because frankly, it’s needed.
Yesterday, Joe and I stopped and parked in a handicapped spot. When we were getting in the car, the vehicle parked next to his door was pulling away. The driver rolled down her window while backing out and yelled to her passenger: “Well he doesn’t look handicapped!” and drove away.
This made my heart hurt for many reasons. The permit isn’t for Joe, it’s for his wife, who he cares for constantly, who was with him and who was diagnosed with a terminal disease. A handicapped permit is something that a doctor must approve, not just anyone, so there is – quite literally – a valid reason for having one. I felt guilty enough for even asking for such a thing and a comment like that doesn’t make a difficult situation any easier. I was in tears over a comment that was made intentionally and without regard for the impact that it would have on the person it was meant for.
I say all this to say, the impact that words have cannot be undone. We are taught early on to treat others how we want to be treated. Something that she may have forgotten has not been lost on me and sadly, her words will stay with me each time I park in a handicapped space. Our words should be chosen wisely and we should always consider the feelings of others as we pick them.
Continue to spread love, my friends…not hate.