Teri sustained a complete C6/7 quadriplegic injury at the age of 24 after a tragic car accident.
She opened up about her injury and how she’s learned to cope and create a “new normal.” Shattering myths and challenging us to re-shape our thoughts about people with disabilities, Teri talked about becoming a “mom in a chair.”
Teri is continuing to share her experiences as a guest blogger for Wheelstrong Sports.
Titled “You Will Be Healed,” Teri shares an awkward/insulting encounter with a well-meaning elderly couple. Continue reading her insightful blog below…
“I’m sure many of you have experienced this but it has not happened to me in a while and caught me off guard. I was at the mall with my son having dinner in the food court when an elderly couple came up to chat with us. Just randomly saying hello, asking my son questions, a nice lovely chat, when all of a sudden the lady grabbed my hand and asked if she could pray for me. Now, I’m not a religious person but I appreciate others’ beliefs and her thoughtfulness in well wishes (since I WAS still sick). I said, “Thank you that would be very nice” thinking they would go off and mention me in their prayers that night. But no, they bowed their head and went into prayer while holding my hand in the middle of the food court, while our dinner was getting cold. Which in itself wouldn’t have bothered me but when she started praying for me to be healed and to walk again I got the burning desire to interrupt and say that’s okay, I don’t need healing or to walk, I’m fine.
I didn’t do that, instead I waited till the end and thanked her. Should I have said something? Could that have been an opportunity for awareness or would it have been disrespectful to mention anything?
Funny enough, the same night at the mall, buying my son an ice cream for dessert, I dropped my phone on to the floor and a bystander asked me if I needed help. I said no thank you, I’m good and she replied rather rudely. “Oh you’re one of those, independent ones.” I really appreciate people asking me if I need help and believe me I would say yes if I really needed it AND I am even ASKING for help when I need it, but really it would have been more effort for her to pick up my phone for me than for me to do it. I didn’t even get the opportunity to try at that point. I mean if she saw me struggling a bit, then asked, understandable, but really give me a chance!
I took my son for a beautiful, sunny Spring walk to the store and then to our local park. My e-fix chair is perfect for these occasions. It’s about a 3km hilly walk with a boy who likes to run. So I can just keep up with him and it’s great when he gets tired and just CANNOT walk ANY further. It is also pretty good in the non-accessible parks, over grass, gravel, or mulch.
Though I do get stuck in the mulch at times. I’m so glad I have it, but I try to not use it too much, as I need the exercise. I also suspect it may be the culprit in my van lift breaking down frequently. Not sure yet but until I figure it out I have not been using it to take my son to school. So he’s been pushing me up to his school, well he really is more my brakes when I need to readjust my hands going up the big steep hill. Not something I relish first thing in the morning but I think it will be good for me, it’s a good workout! I do not like having my son HAVE to help though so hoping with doing this enough times he won’t have to soon.
Finally, I felt better just in time to see my favorite DJ Max Graham’s open to close set. My energy level is definitely still low but it was so busy on that dance floor that there was not enough room to dance anyway. I love to be right up at the front with the sub right in front of me!
Such a great night and I didn’t even get many it’s so great to have you here comments. And most everybody gave me space, they didn’t push past me or fall on top of me. Did get a lot of high fives, hugs and a group of dudes that wanted to lift me on the stage.
The other interesting thing I noticed was how many people were “protective” of me. I mean my friends are always looking out for me, surrounding me on the dance floor so I do have space, but so many random people seemed to be doing the same thing. (The ones that noticed me any way.) The one thing that happened, which has never happened before, was an older gentleman escorted a guy who was talking to me off the dance floor just like that. I did not know either of these men, the one who was talking to me was harmless enough, wasn’t bugging me, but for some reason the older guy felt like I needed saving.
Weird. Again, if I need help, I’ll ask, please believe me!”
What do you think of Teri’s blog?
I applaud her for handling these awkward situations with grace and understanding. It’d be easy to blow up on these ‘healers’ and well-meaning folks. But to carry around that anger – particularly around your son – just isn’t the highest road. To me, Teri is a truly inspirational mom!
Have you ever felt like “healing” a mom in a chair? Or have you ever experienced anything like this?