Revealing a disability

I made a decision this year to really reveal Professor X’s physical disability to friends/family near and far. Although we’ve made reference to his chronic pain on Facebook posts and previous Christmas cards, we’ve never elaborated. Friends who haven’t seen us in years have not yet understood how serious his condition has become.

So this year, I featured Professor X in his wheelchair for our Christmas card picture.

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Actually, Professor X pointed out to me that our 2009 Christmas card photo also hinted at his physical condition: if you look carefully you can see his cane hiding behind Marvel Girl’s legs.

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And although we sent our cards out the weekend after Thanksgiving, we haven’t received a single question or comment on Professor X’s condition. Even by those who hadn’t previously known it’s severity. One high-school friend even commented, “I’m glad to hear you are doing so well.”

I’m not sure what I expected, really. But at least now the information is out there.

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  1. I’ve been in a few situations this year in which I’ve found that when people don’t know what to say to be supportive, they often don’t say anything. This is really hard, because silence feels so hurtful when you need understanding and support. I’m sorry. And after reading this post, I’m really sorry for all the times I wanted to make sure I said the right thing to friends and ended up saying nothing. I’m sure that caused pain.

    I think Dear Abby once wrote a column about how important it is to give support to people–especially people who voice their need for it. I wish people would try harder just to say “I love you and I’m sorry you’re dealing with this.”
    I’m thinking of you…

  2. I agree with Rwbecca, when people don’t know what to say, they are often silent, that being said, I am surprised that no one commented.
    Praying that 2011 is a GOOD year for you all.

  3. i hope that by sharing, you have some peace – a problem shared is a problem halved kind of thing? i wish you and your family well, and for a painless/free 2011 – one can only hope!

  4. I wonder if they don’t know how to ask about it?! You’d think there would be inquiries into what was happening. That is so very interesting. Even though we can only see the feet, it looks like it’s a cute card! ๐Ÿ™‚ Blessings to you this Christmas!

  5. A pastor at my church has developed sever fibro and chronic migraines. Early in 2010 he took disability leave while attending a pain management clinic, and then this fall had to resign from his position. I’ve watched so many NOT know what to say. Even with my best intentions, all I could say was, “I’m praying for you…we’re here if you need us…Can we bring you a dinner?”

    Maybe when the holidays are over…could you elaborate on what would be good to hear. How can we help those around us that are in “your” situation.

    This year we walked through 14 months of unemployment. It seemed those who had been there before knew how to tend to our hearts. I’m hoping that my journey gives me a tenderness for those around me…and maybe your journey can help us all show kindness to our neighbors.

  6. I’m so sorry the Professor has to go through this. Most of the time people don’t say anything just because they are at a loss of the right thing to say…not because they don’t care.

    I just wanted to pop in and wish you and yours a very blessed and Merry Christmas filled with friends, family and fudge, heaps of rich delicious fudge!!!

    I’ll keep Mr. Pro. in my prayers sweetie!!!

  7. I actually popped in because I wondered how you all were doing. I wonder if perhaps ??? more people know than you thought? Perhaps they’ve told one another and it wasn’t a total surprise? I don’t know. I would feel kinda bummed if no one said anything to me…but I suppose they may all be in shocked silence. Maybe they aren’t sure what to say or ask??

  8. After a second glance, maybe they are really in shock because you’ve all lost your heads? (That’s what our photo shows, at least.) LOL.

  9. Or maybe they’re concerned about you. In both photos, you only have one leg. I’d better go do something productive now… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Like the above comments I hoping folks just don’t know what to say. But I’m also hoping they reach out to you in the coming year with kindness, friendship and support.

    Sending holiday hugs and wishing you all a Merry Christmas. xo jj

  11. Either they knew more than you thought or they just do not know what to say. For people not around disabilities it can be a scary/intimidating thing. And most people do not think of what the caregiver is going through or you would have tons of requests to help you out!

    I keeping hoping that one day I am going to read that he is getting better. Many hugs and thoughts.

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