There is a good thing about meeting an online friend who is also a fellow blogger. We would already have a general idea of how each other is like from reading each other’s blog. Still, I was pleasantly surprised when I met Adriene for the first time. She was on an overnight trip here and we arranged to meet in church for Mass this morning. Since she is active in Raleigh International Kuala Lumpur, I had an impression of an outdoorsy rough and tumble girl which was only partially correct. I also had in mind a boisterous character but Adriene is soft-spoken and very courteous. She was featured in The Star yesterday.
We met Lilian after Mass. That was sort of a mini bloggers’ meet, the three of us, inside the Cathedral. I thought how wonderful it was that although we enjoy similar interest in keeping weblogs, the topics that we write about is absolutely dissimilar. Lilian blogs about her family and motherhood. Adriene promotes the Raleigh International. I write about the mundane. That is how different we are yet similar in many ways.
I am glad that Adriene had looked me up. Apart from the pleasure of meeting her in real life for the first time, we discovered that Michael, her travelling buddy for this trip, is related to Peter and me. Michael’s grandfather and our grandmother were siblings. Who would have thought that my second degree friend via Adriene would turn out to be my second cousin? Peter and I met a relative we never knew we had. This is an incredible day.
Is it difficult to love a severely paralysed man? Yes! A lot of times, I am frustrated with myself for not being able to do simple things that other people have taken granted for. Every little task needs an extra effort, sometimes a whole lot. When I finally give up tying to pick something up from the floor, after grappling with it in futility for fifteen minutes, I would sit there breathless, fuming and brood over my misfortune. It is difficult to love a severely disabled man that I am when simple tasks that even babies can do become gargantuan to my crippled hands.
Is it truly difficult to love a man with my disabilities? Ask Wuan. We have been together for five years. Not once has she complained about my lack of physical abilities. Instead, she would devise ways to make it easier for me to perform various tasks. Those that are totally beyond me, she became my hands and feet. She cared enough to observe, learn and improvise, all for my sake. She takes the impossible and makes it into “I-m-possible.” With her, I have been to more places than I possibly could. She makes my life easier. Sometimes, I have the impression that she loves me more than I myself. To her, it is as if loving a man like me is effortless. She is an exceptional person. I am sure people who know us well will wholeheartedly agree.
Today is designated the International Day of Disabled Persons by the United Nations as part of the world body’s collaborative effort in recognising the “dignity, rights and well being of persons with disabilities.” This is not only to celebrate and acknowledge disabled persons for their contribution to the global society as a whole but also the people who have made it their priority to enrich the lives of people like us in every possible way. This year’s theme “Nothing About Us Without Us” is a reminder that, although we may be “differently-abled,” we want to and are able to participate fully and equally in the determination of our place in society.