A Semi-Charmed Life

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After Layng Martine Jr.'s wife Linda was rendered paraplegic by a car accident, the couple had to adapt. Linda was a marathon runner, tennis player, and hiker. Without the use of her legs, she couldn't do any of those things...at least not in the manner to which she was accustomed. But the couple didn't give up -- they found ways to cope, and continue living their life together. From last week's New York Times comes a touching article about the specifics of living with a disability: In a Charmed Life, a Road Less Traveled. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to live with a paraplegic partner, this article gets into the details. Here's a snippet:

We know that most people — strangers, anywhere — will knock themselves out to help us if we explain what we need. We know to say "Yes" to nearly everything because there is probably a way to do it. We know there is happiness available every day, most of it requiring more effort than money. And effort seems like a small price to pay for a day at the beach, a trip to New York or for dinner up eight steps to a friend's home.

A few months after the accident, Linda started driving again. Her car has hand controls. She thinks nothing of driving to visit her father two hours away by herself. She has rolled three marathons — yes, a full 26-plus miles in a racing wheelchair.

And now, so long since that fateful night, looking across the dinner table at my wife, or seeing her across the room at a party, the hopeless crush I have on her is as wonderfully out of control as when I first saw her more than four decades ago through the screen door.

There's a lot to reflect on in this story. And as a special bonus, here's the story of a quarter-century marriage to a man behind bars from the LA Times. (Be sure to continue to parts two and three.)

(Via Kottke.org.)

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March 10, 2009 - 10:52am
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