Courage

The last time it snowed like this in May in Denver was 1974. May of ‘74 was the beginning of my life as a Dad. Amy (my kid), was born on the 20th and 45 years later this past Monday, I was greeted with 5” of snow. Monday is my Lyft day so I headed out into the snowy darkness of predawn with a sense of adventure. My first ride took me 17 miles south of Arvada to Englewood. We had a spirited conversation about the loss of civility in politics. Within seconds I had my next ride. I spotted my passenger standing out on the curb, bundled up like it was January. She had a backpack, a water bottle in one hand and a white cane in the other.

I pulled up to the curb, rolled my window down and identified myself. She met me with a warm smile and before I could ask if she needed assistance she worked her way into my back seat.

It was a 25 minute ride to the tech center and we began to work our way through the slushy streets. I was in the presence of a very engaging young woman. She asked me questions about my life, Lyft driving, and then she said, “The way I feel right now I wish I could stay in my pajamas and stay home”. Somewhere in the midst of the conversation she shared she was struggling with a health issue. I asked her “Were you born blind, or did you see at one time”? She told me in the most beautiful way, her story. When she was 10 she started getting headaches. She had a tumor on her optic nerve. I asked her “Was it a meningioma”? “You know about them”? I said, “Yes, my wife had one removed from her frontal lobe in 2010”. They are non-malignant tumors that affect the lining of the brain. They can be fatal and often return. She went on to tell me that after two surgeries she became completely blind. There was a remarkable depth of honesty and character in her countenance. She told me she works for a tech company where she helps to consult about how their applications work with folks who have extra challenges.

“What I really want to do is be a ‘motivational speaker’. I told her “You have inspired me”. I asked her if being able to remember what life was like when she could see, was hard emotionally. Her reply was quick and confident. “I adjusted to be blind pretty quickly. My friends would say ‘the clouds are covering the mountains today’ I would laugh and say ‘not in my mind’.” We pulled up into the drop off area of the big building where she worked. Slush and snow were everywhere. I asked, “Could I walk you to the door”? “I would love that”. I took her by the hand and walked her to

the door. I asked her for permission to write about her. She said “Sure, I would love that”. I have revisited this ride all week. On that snowy 45th birthday of my Amy, I was given a gift, her name is Emily.

Onward and Upward, Mark

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