This is how many wheelchair-accessible houses I passed on this morning’s walk: five. That’s a little over one per mile. I passed hundreds of homes. Five had a genuine, universally accessible welcome mat at the front door. Five.
I’ve been thinking about access because I’ve been thinking about aging in place, thanks in no small part to what’s been going on with family, and B. who, though younger, seems always a step ahead in these things. She‘s thinking about aging in place, doing now what will empower her then. It is not a short list.
Then this week I learned about N.’s son, who has suffered the consequences of a devastating collision of youth and gravity. Strong, vital, vigorous, and blessed with a family determined to be grateful for what they still have, S. is now almost certainly wheelchair-bound, facing a rewrite of life’s script that none of us would ever see coming.
I look at doorways differently now.
Also: porches, stairs, light switches, showers, closets, stoves, cars, buses, sidewalks, storefronts… It is not a short list, either.
Another not-so-short list: everything for which I am grateful. Today, in particular: the reminder that life is both precious and precarious, and is most rich when seen through others’ eyes.