Next time you go to the store, may I ask you to get extra milk? May I ask you to help me find a solution of how to walk home from the grocery store with fresh fruit and meat not spoiling in the 100F/37C+ degree summer weather? I wanted to go to church last spring. Maybe you could help me find a way to get there. If my daughter were to run a fever for five days, I am not sure how I would get her to the doctor. School will be out in an hour. It is chilly and pouring rain outside. Don’t you think these umbrellas will be enough to keep my children dry and, at least slightly, protected from the damp chill?
180 days. One hundred eighty. It is not a random number; rather, it is a magical number in the eye of the drivers’ licensing department in most states. A person can have a seizure and somehow in six months they will be healthy enough to drive. Six months is a very long time. An individual can lose consciousness for any number of medical reasons. After 180 days of good health, magically they are fit enough to drive.
If your car has to go in for repairs, do you feel lost? I recently overheard one mother tell our school’s office her child would not be there all week due to their family being short one car. She was nearly crying from frustration. The bus system could not come and pick her son up. I knew one man that was very angry his car was in the garage for three days. He would be forced to take vacation time. He did not have a lot saved up. I knew one mom who was worried about how she would adequately take care of her children when she would need to walk so far to get groceries. I knew one mom that spent a summer asking those questions above. I am that mom.
If you know someone who never takes their car out anymore ask if they need a ride. There are more reasons than just epilepsy that will leave people longing for the freedom a car can provide. I know last time I lost my license, it was one of the most difficult times I had of continuing a sense of normalcy for my family. My husband was away on a long work trip. It was only my daughters and me. I was told on several occasions, “Next time I go to the store I will let you know. You can ride along.” I would see these same people, having forgotten to invite me, come home a few days later with a trunk full of groceries. I would remember the Sunday bake sale our church recently had for families in need, but then find out people were too busy during the week to take me to the doctor. One lady asked again and again if I needed to go out and get anything. I finally told her yes. When I asked for help, she told me she did not have time to go out and did not like that store. But, she encouraged, I should ask again next week and she’ll see if her schedule frees up. That crushed me after gathering courage to admit I needed help.
When you lose your right to drive, you lose freedoms most likely you’ve never thought about before. You give up a level of independence you always took for granted. I even gave up simple things such as a speaking group I attended weekly. It was a pleasant outing to go and see these familiar people. It was fun to practice and utilize my passion for public speaking. Only one person offered me transportation. This man used the weekly outing as his social hour, too. I could not take this away from him. He would need to rush me home to pick up my kids from school. We lost my kids’ opportunity to play community sports because games were not always close to our home, but sometimes miles and miles away. I lost so much during those months. I gained little besides strong legs, a trimmer body and much more compassion for those that are never again able to drive.
So this, this, is what I am asking you to help me with: If you know someone that cannot drive, don’t wait and make them ask you for help. The greatest gift a neighbor gave to me was the frequent call where she said, “I am going to Target. Do you want to ride along with me?” I always tell people not to ask if they don’t want company because I will never decline an outing. We, no individual is immune to this, get busy in our own lives. Remember though those around you unable to be busy. People need your help. Whether it is a call letting them know you can get them a container of milk or a ride to a meeting, it will mean more than you can ever imagine. Think back to the time when you had to take your car in for repairs. Think about what you would miss if you could not get a rental to use for a week. Imagine it was you who was unable to find transportation for months at a time. I would be happy to offer you help. Right now though, I am asking you to offer this same help to someone else in need of your kindness.