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I Pity the Fool

I pity the fool who looks upon the chronically ill as being “less than”. Someone once told me that they felt sorry for my children because I wasn’t “normal”. I replied that they shouldn’t be pitied, but instead they should be commended for being loving and compassionate humans who don’t place value on a person’s physical abilities.

Definition of “normal”

At first, I was outraged that this person had the audacity to say this to my face. Seriously, who in their right mind would say something like that and not expect it to hurt the person with the disability???!! Later my anger turned into pity. I pitied them because they placed value on a person’s ability. Instead of recognizing that one of the reasons my children were more compassionate than most of their peers was because they had a physically disabled mom, they insinuated that my kids were deprived just because my body was less than “normal”. When I asked for their definition of normal, they said, “You know, a mom who is able to volunteer, run in the park, cook, clean, etc…”. I replied with “Normal doesn’t always equate to good. Just because I don’t fit your definition of a normal mom it doesn’t mean that I am not a good mom. Because of my physical limitations, I am home more than the average mother. My kids never come home to an empty house. I am always there to play games, watch movies, or to talk with my kids. I don’t need to schedule time for my family because I am always there for them!”

Living the good life

I pity those who only focus on the negative aspects of life. Yes, living with multiple chronic illnesses is tough, but living a good life is possible despite them. And by a good life, I mean a life in which the spouses and children are loved and cared for. Doing things differently doesn’t lessen the quality of our relationships; in fact, the challenges my family has faced have often strengthened our relationships.

Thankfully I am able to end this post on a positive note. I was later able to draw out the real reason this person felt sorry for my children. The idea of having an often debilitating disease scared them. They feared becoming a burden to their own children. This person also feared the changes that would have to be made in her own life if her parents became disabled. Over time we became friends and the pity she once felt for my children was replaced with admiration.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.