I need a car.
There, I said it.
My husband Dion lives with Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that is robbing him of his mobility. Last fall Dion learned how to drive with hand controls and has a license that requires he use them. Our car is fitted with them now, and so Dion needs to use it as his primary means of getting around. With his new role at work, he no longer needs to simply get to The Gateway. Instead, Dion needs to be going places at exactly the same times I do. I never thought I would potentially be a part of a two car family. In some ways I struggle with even having a single vehicle: I think about the impact on the environment; I consider that I live in a city with public transportation; I know that for most people a car will never be an option. These are all good reasons to eschew driving a car, except…
The challenge for me is that I found ways to make my life work in large part because I had the use of our car. Our vehicle is used to ensure that things happen at The Dale. The Dale might not have walls of our own, but we do have my trunk. I transport groceries for our drop-ins, at various times store art supplies and outreach items like socks and hats, and move sound equipment for our Open Stages. We rely on the car to help our community friends move. We go on hospital, jail and court visits. We take people to appointments. Sometimes it is our office. And that’s all in the course of just one week.
Having a car also has a profound impact on my effort to keep life at The Dale in balance with life at home. I am able to finish my time in Parkdale and get home in time for Cate (which is a tight squeeze). I can drive a carload of kids to rehearsals for the choir that Cate has been in since the age of six. Our family participates in a “Dinner Shuffle” each Wednesday that is always followed by me heading off to do street outreach during the remainder of the evening. My list could go on and on. Though Dion will be able to get around, it will not afford him the energy to take on the grocery shopping, etc. Fatigue is a difficult symptom of MS.
Sharing this makes me feel very vulnerable. I know that life will go on if we don’t get another car. I also know life will be decidedly different for The Dale and the Oxford house without one. Quite honestly, I’m scared about all of this. A Dale community member has decided to actively pray for a solution. I know that my mother is doing the same. I would like to invite you all to help me/us see what the possibilities might be in all of this. Do you know a person wishing to sell a vehicle for a decent price? Do you wish to help us?
I am all ears.