Today was a hard day. After 2.5 years I finally donated Maggie's wheelchair today.
It was time. But it is hard.
When Maggie was here, I would have gone to the mat with anyone who said Maggie's chair defined her. She was so much more than that stupid hunk of metal. But after she died I could not part with it because it was part of her. It was her transportation. It went wherever she went and actually allowed her to get there, so it was also her freedom. It was the only way she could really access her talker, so it was central to her communication. It was like a weird member of the family always in a prominent place in the house. (Had to be prominent, the thing was so big.) When Maggie passed away the empty wheelchair was on the altar at her funeral. That was all we needed for people to feel her presence.
So I guess if I'm being honest the wheelchair did kind of define her.
It's been sitting in our garage since February 2014 just off in a corner. Though I wasn't ready to part with it, I hated seeing it there. It made me feel guilty because that chair is full of bits and pieces that so many other kids can use.
Now my father in law is moving in and has many special needs of his own. We need all the space we can get, so coupling that with my guilt over hoarding coveted parts of chairs, I decided to pull the trigger and called CCS (California Children's Services) and they were happy to take it. I did ask that someone remove the cover with her name on it and give it to us and I'm sure they will.
Since I sold the van I didn't have anyway to transport the chair, so they made arrangements to pick it up. As I wheeled it into their van I could feel the emotion welling up. I asked him to wait while I took a picture and held it together until he drove away.
Just as the guy pulled away, my kind neighbor was coming down his stairs and greeted me warmly and was very surprised to see me in tears. The poor guy moved here after Maggie passed away and never knew her; he had no way of knowing how significant that was, if he even saw any of it. He just gave me a big hug and offered whatever help he could. But there's nothing he can do. It just is what it is.
I know someone or several someones will get a lot of use out of all parts of that chair and that is how it should be. It is sitting over at the CCS Medical Therapy Unit where Maggie spent so much time going to therapy and Girls ROck camp and Art Tech Camp. That unit is at 25th and Quintara Streets in the heart of the Sunset District of San Francisco. So the drama was complete. It actually did ride off into the sunset.
And that made me smile.