Post Title: LIMITED MOBILITY: A TOWN ‘MAKES DO’ TO PAY RESPECTS.
Because I live with limited mobility all the time, I can understand the frustration of many others who are being asked to follow the current “stay-at-home” guidelines and “safe socialization” protocol that has swept across the world. People don’t like being cooped up.
As my vision worsened, I didn’t like it either. I hesitated before going out at night when my vision was at its worst. People hesitate leaving now for health reasons. The psychological impact bears down on a person’s thinking. Just yesterday, I saw a video post by my younger brother. His frustration at not being able to have his specialty store open came through.
Oh, how I “get” his feelings. It’s not fair! So relatable. Having to adapt to a new norm isn’t easy. It affected my livelihood, my social life, how dependent I was on others, and even how I felt about myself. But I did adapt with my white cane. My attitude, which used to widely fluctuate from frustration to grief became one of gratitude.
This past month, I’ve witnessed a great disparity of emotions as people are forced to comply with governmental lockdowns and guidelines. On one hand, the media and newspapers showcase the worst—blame, inequality, pity, fear, and what is lacking. The government, on the other hand, attempts to reassure and implement measures, including those of a financial nature, that will aid society and remove distrust. That’s familiar, too, with what I’ve experienced at the state-level to aid me with my vision loss.
“It boils down to a meeting of the minds: each understanding the other’s sacrifice and focusing on gratitude within the limitations.”
Over the weekend, I experienced an encouraging demonstration of this principal in my hometown. Unbeknownst to me, Mr. Leftwich, an elderly neighbor down the street, fought and lost his battle with his heart condition. He looked to be somewhere in his eighties. In his final days, his children had returned from several states away to surround him.
I am friends with Mr. Leftwich myself. In free-er times, I visited with him, sent him cards and dropped off goodies at his house to let him know he was on my mind. My older brother and I took him out for ice cream on the last day of the season a couple of years ago. He took us out twice for brunch at a local restaurant in a nearby town. Mr. Leftwich knew my parents, and not just mine, but so many others. He loved our hometown so much, he preferred to live—and die—here, he said.
For the moment, there is no funeral planned. Maybe that will come later. But in an impromptu gathering, which respected protocols of social distance, people met. The people of my town understood the limitations of the times, and yet, with very few words quickly organized themselves to pay tribute to a loving citizen. My town adapted.
The Dobler Hose Fire Company and the Borough Police switched on their sirens. Drivers from our tight-knit community lined up at our local middle school and formed a parade of caring. One by one, they pulled out of their parking spots and followed the vehicle in front of them.
They drove a short distance until they passed the family homestead. They rolled down their windows, blared their horns and called out messages of sympathy, support and love for my former neighbors. The vehicles came one after another—cars, trucks, antiques—all driven by community well-wishers.
My younger brother rode in the tribute “parade.” He was one of the many to pay his respects to the family, and salute both a veteran and a solid family man of my parents’ generation. Drivers waved from behind open and closed windows, an armor of steel from driver to driver and between drivers and Mr. Leftwich’s family, who stood in their yard waving back and thanking the crowd. Last night, seeing this show of affection via Facebook was like a movie and touched my heart so much I cried.
I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to my humble friend who chose to live out his life in the same house in our small town for forty-six years. I read Facebook posts of how he had been such a friend to many and how honored they, in return, were to show their respect in the parade.
I don’t know why we never took any photos of our time together. Maybe the need to reproduce sentiment isn’t always necessary. It’s there in the heart – experiencing it moment by moment – where our treasures can often be found.
In the volatile emotions that surround Covid-19, this small-town demonstration of compassion and support where local leaders and residents came together on a quiet Sunday morning fills me with hope.
“Byron E. Leftwich would have smiled and touched his heart, astonished and perhaps even a little uncomfortable to know he was the center of attention. He would have turned it around to shine the light on others.”
Mr. Leftwich had a humble, calm spirit of gratitude so needed in this time of physical and emotional turmoil. He adapted to life within his own limitations—missing his wife who had gone on before him, coping with health issues—he leaned on family and faith. He had scriptures earmarked in his well-worn Bible.
He served the military and others every day with a life of humility and grace. How beautiful that this community in Northwest Pennsylvania returned the favor by serving his memory and his family in turn.
Their hearts touched in the gap where their hands could not.
Do you know an example during this time of limited mobility where people have come together and metaphorically cut across the gap to uplift one another? Share it in the comments below.
5 Stars “…I’m not vision impaired. I don’t read non-fiction for enjoyment. I am not what some might consider the target market for this book, but I can tell you that I would recommend it to my own teenagers, my husband, my teenage students, and anyone else I know as a book of bravery, encouragement, motivation, testimony, and just as a pleasure read. Don’t pass it by: You will be blessed.”–An Amazon Reader
–An Amazon Reader
5 Stars“Living in the Power instead of the fear!”
Mobility Matters elegantly shares Amy Bovaird’s emotions and experience which anyone going through vision loss can identify with. The transformation as she overcomes her fear and the enemies voices that her loss of vision will now define who she is as a person and dictate the rest of her life, will inspire hope to each reader. Amy’s journey stepping out in faith and how the Lord’s Word gave her the strength to keep going, is a must read.
This book is not only for those going through the hallway of vision loss, but for each family member or any one who loves someone losing their vision would also benefit by reading.
Mobility Matters Stepping out in Faith has left me thinking I will now call canes power sticks!!!
Michael Benson, Founder
Visual Experience Foundation
4 Stars “…As a mobility specialist myself, I found this book of great interest to me for its subject matter. I was quite amazed that Amy could get around on her own with her genetic condition, particularly at night, since individuals with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) tend to lose their night vision and are using a cane at night much sooner than Amy was using any assistive device (even a bright light). Amy maintained her positive attitude, her faith and her sense of humour. If only we all could do that in times of crisis!” –Kathryn Svendsen, Mobility Specialist, Canada
5 Stars “Couldn’t stop reading until I finished. Very inspirational. Will definitely be looking for more by this author!” –Sharon Hannah
5 stars “…This book really inspired me. Amy’s outlook on life is what I would like to model in my own. Yes, going blind SUCKS but she took it to another level. She made it into an adventure and I needed to be reminded of that again. Her positive outlook on this all has really encouraged me in my current situation now. Taking the step of faith to move on forward and embrace life for what it is. I highly recommend purchasing this book! Be inspired, take a journey behind the life of someone with Usher, smile, laugh, and enjoy! –Andi Nicole
5 Stars “As a person who lives with chronic illness, I sometimes get bogged down with books on illness that feel really heavy. This one does not. Author Amy Bovaird, who is losing her sight, writes so well about her personal experiences, I feel like I’m walking alongside her as I read. I kept coming back to the story to see what happened–was she going to let fear stop her? Would she overcome?
The lessons Amy learns through her experiences apply to any of us who fear aging, illness, new symptoms, or really anyone who needs some inspiration, and that reminder that much can be accomplished if you step out and forward–even when you cannot see beyond that first step. I definitely enjoyed this book. –Kimberly Rae, Bestselling Author of the Stolen Series
Blog post review by Gillian Davis, RP Tunnel of Sight
One of the best books I have ever read about mobility and white cane use is called Mobility Matters: Stepping out in Faith by Amy Bovard. It is funny, poignant and packs a lot of tips and useful information. You can find it by following the link below to Amy’s web page and listen to a chapter before you buy, it is wonderful.