This morning, my husband woke me up, signing, “Are you still wanting to walk with me?” I nodded and groggily got up to get ready. I have never been a morning person, and I don’t think I ever will. I just look forward to my cup of coffee when I get up in the morning. Unfortunately, this morning, there wasn’t going to be time to make a cup before walking with my husband. On the positive side, I found that I still had some water in my water bottle from working out the night before. I grabbed that after letting my groggy kids know that I was going out for a walk with their daddy. They are both old enough to be at home by themselves for a little while, and I didn’t think they would cause any trouble while sleeping.
The air was brisk, making me grateful I had the wits to put on a long sleeve shirt on, and I let my husband lead, thinking he could show me how on earth he had gotten lost the day before. As we walked, I began to notice he was beginning to lean more towards the left, causing me to walk up the curb onto a grassy landscape by the parking lot. I immediately see a confused look on my husband’s face. “Where am I? Where did we go?” I explained where we were, and it was obvious he had no clue this grass was here. “I don’t want to lead. You be the one to lead me, okay?” He says. So I did, and as we walked, I began to see him swerve towards his right. I began to realize what was going on. He couldn’t tell he wasn’t going in a straight line, and if he continued the direction, he would have walked right into the building, just like before. I told him what I noticed, and he let out an exasperated sigh. “I don’t know how I am going to avoid that from happening again.” I assured him there would be a way somehow we could figure out to make sure it wouldn’t happen again.
As we walked, he would share what landmarks he could feel with his cane to make sure he was going the right way. There was a light pole and a textured manhole cover in the path. His cane would hit both, giving him the sense of where he was at. We just needed to figure out how to guide him from the apartment to these landmarks, as it was between the two he would get lost.
It was a mile to the Light Rail, and for a blind man, my husband was a fast walker. Being almost 3/4 of a foot shorter than he is, I really had the challenge of widening my stance to keep up with him. He could hear me huffing as we went up the hill, and I saw a smile across his face. “Come on! You can do it!” “I’m trying! It doesn’t help that your legs are longer than mine!” He chuckled at that, and said it would be good for me to push myself as I had some health issues needing me to lose weight. He was right, but I was more in marvel of how my blind husband had the confidence to walk at such a fast pace!
We got to the intersection for him to cross to the rail station, and one thing I love about this area is they had put in sound and a voice at the crosswalk to let any blind person know it was safe to cross the street. I couldn’t hear it, but, thankfully, he could. All I could see was a blinking light over the crosswalk button and the typical light across the street with the icons showing when to wait and to cross. The white walking figure showed up, and before i needed to say anything, he went his way.
I walked home with the sun rising in front of me. My husband would go on into the city to work, using his cane to feel his way. He amazes me. He’s had some challenges in the city, but he always has been able to overcome them. It is through a helping hand of a stranger most of the time… In fact, there was one time when the kids and I were out of town, when a stranger helped my husband from unknowingly stumbling into a dangerous situation, but thats for another post.