Notes from a caregiver’s diary… How can we teach compassion?

butterfly in handsThese days, Len doesn’t get out and about as much as he’d like. Sometimes, I suggest we take a drive to do an errand, so we can get out of the house and Mary can catch a quick nap.

One afternoon, Len and I were headed to the grocery store to pick up a few things. The journey through the store was relatively uneventful. Dad pushed the buggy and I chatted as we walked up and down the aisles.

We found the items we needed and were ready to cash out. After waiting patiently in line, Dad unloaded the items from the cart to the conveyor belt and I moved to the end to put everything in bags.

I watched as a person at the cashier’s station next to me, bent down in our aisle and began to tie her shoe.

Now, Len is pushing the buggy and has macular degeneration in one eye and reduced vision in the other and he was “looking” straight ahead. He was NOT looking at some one who was crouched down, tying up her shoe and directly in his path. Of course, they collided.

The stream of obscenities that came from her was immediate and vindictive. She may have put herself directly in Len’s path, but this collision was certainly not her fault.

“You stupid old man… how dare you drive right into me?” was a very polite, much-shortened version of her rant.

I walked up to her and in a quiet voice, said, “I’m sorry, but my Dad has macular degeneration and he doesn’t see very well. When you bent down in his aisle to tie your shoe, you were not in his vision path. He just didn’t see you! Please cut him some slack.”

Instead of realizing she may have been part of the problem, she continued her rant – this time even louder and more graphic.

Len, who fortunately doesn’t hear well either asked me if he had done something wrong. I told him in a loud, calming voice, “Of course, you have done nothing wrong.” and we quietly walked away.

Unfortunately, the women was left cursing Len and honestly believing she had been the only victim!

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