Thursday, January 26, 2012

Life&Story: All In Your Attitude

I am delighted to start a new weekly feature called Life&Story: Inspiring Moments where I select a story I find to be amazing and post it here.  I am looking for entries so please nominate someone you would like to highlight and send me their story and every Thursday they will be highlighted here on  Send all entries to leahstone17 (at) hotmail (dot) com

I am so happy to share this amazing story with you.  It is a story about choosing your attitude even when life throws you a curve ball.  My friend, Grant, recently celebrated his 12 year anniversary since his accident and while some might find that to be a somber day, he and his family celebrate this day and recognize his fantastic accomplishments. I think that is brilliant. Enjoy! If you love Grant you probably love his daughter Tracy. Click HERE to read about her highlight as the friend everyone should have.

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My life took a twist at age 46 after a ski accident left me a paraplegic.  Now I’m 58 and still learning what joy each day can bring.  You see it is all about attitude.  If I had chosen a bad attitude, and those around me had allowed me to do that, things just wouldn’t be the way they are.

I discovered that even though I couldn’t walk, I could still enjoy the world around me.  With the help of my family, and friends I returned to work after six months.  I continued that work until I was able to retire.  Working gave me the confidence that I could do many other things as well.  Special programs allowed me to try skiing again.  I have been kayaking; I have purchased an off road four wheeler and ridden in the back country.  I even traveled to Hawaii and went snorkeling.  Now these things I have mentioned take a considerable amount of effort and assistance from others around me but they are still a lot of fun.

So a friend asked if I would share about what it is like to be in a wheelchair.  I have found that some people are uncomfortable talking with me, even sometimes looking at me.  As a result I often look away from them to help relieve their pain.  Some people however are very comfortable talking with me, often I find out these people have a family member or friend who is also in a wheelchair and so they do not find talking with me uncomfortable.  Sometimes they even kneel on the ground and get down to my level; this is nice since looking up for a long conversation can make my neck really sore.  So don’t feel sorry for me or others in a wheelchair, just talk to us like anyone else, get down on our level and look us in the eye it will be a nice gesture.

Now some people are worried about saying the wrong thing or asking to personal of a question.  Don’t worry about that too much,  it’s not such a big deal with me after all I have been through, what is important is that people respect me as a person, don’t run away from having contact with me.  I’m pretty open about things so if you want to ask a question just ask, I imagine most people with disabilities are pretty much the same.  I do think however some people may be touchy about barriers that prevent them from being able to do things.  Can you blame them?  When it gets harder to do almost everything in your life, it can get pretty frustrating and send you over the edge sometimes.  So when those around us try and help remove those barriers it is greatly appreciated, believe me.

Things to consider:

If you see someone in a wheelchair waiting outside in a line and it’s cold, invite them inside because their circulation isn’t very good and once they get cold it takes forever to warm up.

All people with disabilities are not the same; if you have questions ask them.

Before you help someone you should ask if they want your help.

If you are talking to a person in a wheelchair for a long time, sit or kneel down so that you are at eye level with them so they don’t have to strain to look up at you.

Think of a person in a wheelchair as a person first, with feelings just like anyone else.


Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

I love it!!! Grant is my hero.

Timothy Family said...

I love this story about Grant. I agree that a good life is about our attitude. I am looking forward to all of your stories. I know of another good story. I will contact my friend and let you know.

Thanks again Grant. You inspire me, again.