Tags: disability, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, gratitude, Megan Cutter
This weekend, Barton and I drove to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for my grandmother’s memorial service. While we were caught in the snow and ice in Charlotte, we did finally make it. I read the piece below at the service on Sunday. When Barton and I would visit my grandmother, we would have the most incredible exchanges, most of them without any words.
There’s almost more that I don’t know about my grandmother than what I do. I don’t know what it was like for her growing up, being a minister’s wife, or raising three children in times of uncertainty and change. I didn’t know her in her younger years, a Southern Woman, wearing magnificent dresses and style of the time. I didn’t see her when she taught classes to children or Body Recall to seniors.
But what I do know are precious moments in time, and so today I will link some of those memories together, little jewels like pearls on a necklace.
I remember my grandmother reading to me as a child, and when I would visit Tuscaloosa, we would sit in the living room upstairs reading or talking. She would make frocks for me to wear, but I was much more interested in wearing overalls. I would know my grandmother by her conversations with my mother in the kitchen making dinner or the lunches after church when granddad would retire downstairs.
If we went out, we would go to 5th Street Diner, or if it was a special occasion, Cypress Inn. It would always take us some time to determine the best place for us to sit, usually by the glass windows overlooking the water.
As time progressed, there were memories of uncertainty, concern and anguish over her fading memory. There were also moments of humor and laughter, like the time when granddad came home to a house full of Beannie Babies, little stuffed animals. Now I can tell you that my mother was as much of an instigator as grandmom in this adventure. The downstairs Christmas tree that was filled with Beanie Babies was a symbol of their spirit, laughter and life.
When granddad had surgery, grandmom’s fire and spunk was made known to us all. But when we took her to granddad’s room in recovery, they sat next to each other in silence. While we left to give them some privacy, for just a moment, a milla-second really, I noticed granddad pat her on the knee and on the face. I learned more about endearing love in this moment than nearly at any other time in my life.
Grandmom knew my husband Barton not by his name, but by his face. We would walk into her room, and she would pat Barton’s goatee and laugh. Every visit would begin in this way. We were there with her, wherever she was in that moment. The past didn’t matter, the future did’t matter, only that present moment.
Once, she advised me that when I got married, not to pay any attention to what my husband thought or said, just to do what I wanted to do anyway. She told me that while granddad was downstairs or away at church, she would dance. Now while I haven’t completely taken her advice, what I believe she meant was not to worry about what other people thought or said. She blazed her own path, and whether it was known or hidden, she lived an independent life.
Everyone here may have different memories, that of a mother, a grandmother, a church member, a teacher, a friend. Today we honor and celebrate these memories so that we may live our lives fully, in the present moment, as she did.
My mother wrote to me one time saying, “Your path isn’t easy, it is made of jewels milked with stones that make you strong and able.” This is how I remember both my grandmother and my grandfather.
Tags: disability, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, gratitude, Megan Cutter, vision
Recently, we were talking about celebrating our fifth year anniversary with the adventures in Hatteras Island with the storms of Ida and the Nor’eastern. We had taken the accessible van we had rented a few miles north, supposedly to higher ground. When we realized we would be evacuating by ferry, we knew we would have to retrieve the van. I called the Island Taxi, who called just less than a mile from our van saying the flooding was too bad. She turned around and headed back.
We knew we needed to get the van so we could get on the next ferry evacuating off of the island, so immediately, I changed clothes and dug out Barton’s water shoes- thank God we brought them! Barton made me take my cell phone and watched me from the balcony as I began the hike through the water-covered streets to pick up the van.
At that moment, the rain had stopped, but the wind was still pretty fierce. Several times I stopped, thinking there were sirens going off, but then realized it was only the wind. I climbed the washed banks of the dunes, navigating a path along the side of the road.
Every so often Barton would call me on the cell- how are you doing? He would tell me about cars or obstacles I needed to navigate through. I got focused very quickly- the faster I walked, the sooner I would get there.
Several days before, we walked the same path, and I would calculate how much further I had to go by landmarks we had passed the previous day. We had also picked out small little round briers from Bear’s feet. Twice I walked through these patches, and picked the briers off of the water shoes and my ankles.
Also, jellyfish were blown in onto the beach from the storms. Not realizing why my ankle was stinging, I later found I had been stung by a Man O’War, nasty little buggers.
As I got closer to our van, I get somewhat concerned because I was walking what I was going to be driving back through. On the other side of the street, a wooden cross bridge was not floating in the road. Yet, I knew I couldn’t stop.
Why am I including this fun little escapade in our blog? There were so many lessons we took from this. We knew what we needed to do and wasted no time getting ready and were focused on doing what needed to be done. We didn’t pay attention to what other people said or thought, we just got on the path and did what we needed to do. We are both still learning how to apply this lesson in other areas of our lives. Barton had my back- he watched me the entire way and called to check in and to give a head’s up on what I needed to watch out for.
Was my life in eminent danger? Maybe not. But who knows what was around the corner. The metaphor of the storm is one we are still processing. We were full of awe at the power of nature, every time a wave would crash, we couldn’t help but just feel so humbled.
Tags: Adoption, Barton Cutter, daily living, disability, disability and love, disability and marriage, disability and relationships, disability self advocacy, Megan Cutter, vision
I don’t know about you, but as small business owners, we are both determined, adventurous and persistent. We tend to take it all on, and do it ourselves. But at what point does doing it ourselves limit us from reaching our goals? It’s taken us a while, and we’re still learning how to ask for help.
It’s no secret that we want to have a child, and in order to provide the best care that we can, we will need some additional support. It took time for us to process and decide which avenues we should pursue in having a child. In addition, we wanted to make sure that as an inter-ability couple, we would have the tools necessary for us to be able to raise a child to the best of our ability. We spent almost a year trying to figure out how to find the support in a way that reflected both of our values.
We thought about taking all of it on ourselves, but realized this would not give us results. When a few fundraising opportunities didn’t work out, we started to look at our values, and how we could best include them in meeting our goals. Community is the focus of our vision. It is very important to us to support our community, and more than once we have needed our neighbors’help.
The type of resources we are raising funds for include an accessible vehicle, additional assistance for both Megan and Barton, assistive technology devices for Barton such as a baby carrier that attaches to a wheelchair.
It’s really important for us to provide an exchange, so over the next year, we’ll be doing a couple of community fundraisers. The first one is for the holidays. We are selling Christmas cards (Megan’s photography and Barton’s haiku) and selling key lime pies (for the Triangle Area). Check out how you can become involved at http://cuttersword.com/holiday-cards-and-more.html.
Check back for more community events throughout the year!