We all know people who have some type of invisible disability, yet wake up every morning with a smile and put on a brave face. These people do not need everyone to know they are in pain, and want to live life as “normally” as possible. They do not want their pain to define them.
My dad is a great example.He is all about being there for everyone else and does not want attention focused on himself. What an inspiration he is to me! He has a handicap parking tag and parks front and center when he goes to a store. I see the dirty looks he gets when he gets out of the car and walks to the door. People seem quick to judge.
The reality is that dad has a fractured spine. He wears a large brace under his shirt, and sometimes a second one over his clothing if he is a lot of pain that day. Generally he wears a jacket so the outer brace is not visible. He can walk, but only very short distances. He quietly finds a seat if he is unable to continue until he is able to move on.
The parking spot close to the entrance is not only helpful, but absolutely necessary for Dad to shop for he and my mom, who is in a wheelchair. He does not get the dirty looks when she is in the car with him, probably because her disability is obvious. He tries to do errands himself to allow mom more time at home to rest as she has other health issues as well.
Please, people, let’s not assume the individual using handicap facilities or parking spots are taking advantage of the system. Rather, give them the benefit of the doubt and assume you have no way of knowing the full story. Comments like “But you LOOK good” are hurtful.
Let’s be kind to each other and resolve to acknowledge someone else might have pain you cannot see.