On July 18, 1995
my husband was involved in a traumatic accident. He and our son Roger
were putting machinery away when a cultivator they were parking collapsed.
Bob’s head was caught between a tractor tire and the wing of a
cultivator. That changed our life completely. As a result of his severe
injury, my husband lost sight in both eyes.
Of course, my first
reaction was one of utter shock. For a time I was just traveling on
remote control. I look back now to my reaction and I think, God had
to be with me because I did all the right things. At the time I was
just simply doing what I had to do.
This new role was
rather a frightening one for me because Bob was a person who did everything.
He repaired everything around the house. He did all of our bookkeeping
and with income tax coming on, I was very skeptical of how I was going
to handle it all.
For a while I was
still pretty much in shock and I’m sure that I went through depression.
I cried a lot every day. That’s one of the things I thought of
the other day. I haven’t had a big teary session for a while and
evidently I’m healing. But it takes a long time, it’s been
over a year now and I think after the depression, reality sets in and
you do the best you can in positive ways because life has to go on.
Later, I stressed
to the people in rehab that nobody ever warned me what the reaction
of others would be to my disabled mate. I was really overwhelmed and
distressed when I found that people were ignoring him. They would speak
to me but they would ignore him. I wanted to yell at them, “He’s
not dumb, his brain is great. Just because he can’t see doesn’t
mean that he is not a whole person.”
who is disabled needs to know this. Whenever there is a disability,
of any kind, to the body, you’re going to get some negative reactions
from other people. We have friends that to this day don’t feel
comfortable talking to Bob. And this hurts so badly.
It took me a little
while to think of myself as a caregiver. And I’m sure that I’m
giving care but I’m doing it as a partner, wife and friend. I
try to act in a positive way instead of a negative way simply because
it’s my personality. I’m a positive thinking person so I’ve
tried to get Bob into new situations, to constantly keep him in a social
atmosphere and not let him just sit at home, which sometimes is the
easiest thing to do.
I think probably the most helpful thing from day one was having our
faith. Through our faith we have a church family that has supported
us every moment since Bob’s injury. Our family and our friends
have surrounded us with their love and their care and they have been
invaluable to us.
My motto every day
at the hospital was, and it continues to be, take one day at a time.
You can’t look too far ahead. You have to just take each day as
it comes, do the best you can with that day. This is the way I got through
that period of depression and change.
The commitment to
our marriage has been strengthened enormously. Before the accident we
were both so busy just trying to keep the farm going. We now have all
this togetherness, and it has been a wonderful asset that I never thought
of before. Verbal communication, of course, is basic, but the communication
of love and hugs, and friendships is wonderful and most helpful.
~ Libby Miller, Decatur, Illinois