Glenda Watson Hyatt shares her
experiences living with cerebral palsy to
motivate and inspire others to think about
how they perceive their own situation and
their own world around them. She does all
this by typing with only her left thumb!
Read Glenda's Book - available in paperback and on the Kindle!
Filed under: General — by Glenda at 11:56 pm on Tuesday, December 23, 2014
When I look around, my heart breaks because so many people – near and far – are hurting and in pain. Not only physical pain and un-wellness, but also emotionally, relationally, and even spiritually. Some folks don’t realize they are hurting.
Santa, my one wish for Christmas this year is health, strength and happiness for those who are hurting.
Let 2015 be filled with well-being, health and happiness. Thank you.
One morning, many moons ago…back in high school, while I was wheeling past the school office on my way to class, the boys’ guidance counsellor happened to be in the hallway and asked, “Glenda, would you rather be able to walk or to talk?”
Some people might find that question insensitive or even offensive. I found it sincere and genuinely interested.
I am puzzled by society’s obsession with the ability to walk. That not being able to move about upright on one’s own two feet makes you less of a person, less worthy or valuable. And it is something that needs fixing or curing.
But the inability to clearly communicate verbally is far more disabling. For some reason, which I still do not understand, the majority of society links the ability to speak with the ability to hear and to understand. When encountering someone who has troubles speaking or who they assume do not understand, they automatically begin talking louder and slower, and even use hand gestures as if an impromptu game of Charades had broken out.
Not being able to speak clearly causes much frustration, misunderstanding and isolation. It means the daily interactions people have with others without even thinking about it becomes an ordeal. Little things like making a hair appointment, ordering an iced mocha latte with skim milk, or talking with one’s doctor in private becomes an ordeal, if not impossible. It also means missed opportunities when it comes to socializing, making friends, and finding jobs. This negatively impacts one’s self-esteem and self-confidence, leading to further social isolation.
To the counsellor’s question, I immediately uttered “talk” and continued, unfazed, on my way to class.
Nearly thirty-five years later, the last frontier in accessibility is finally being addressed: communication access.
Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC) has launched a 2.5-year national project Communication Access Now (CAN) to promote communication accessibility for people who have speech and language disabilities.
If that isn’t fantastic enough, I am excited to share that I am now the Social Media Coordinator for this national awareness campaign; a project very dear to my heart for obvious reasons. I am now tweeting and facebooking (that is a word, right?) on behalf of Communication Access Now. I get to help get the message out, using communication tools I love! How perfect.
Filed under: General — by Glenda at 9:27 pm on Monday, December 23, 2013
2013 has been a tough year for myself and several of my friends: many of us experienced heartbreaking losses, others dealt with health issues, while other friends faced disappointment and trying circumstances.
I would like to ask that my friends, near and far, receive healing and happiness.
Let 2014 be filled with hope, health and happiness. Thank you.
Wishing you and the reindeer a safe trip. Merry Christmas!
Filed under: General — by Glenda at 3:50 pm on Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Today is three weeks since I had to let go of my beloved Faith. Sadness still hangs heavy on my heart and the tears flow easily.
Faith was more than a pet to me. She was my constant companion, my friend, for seventeen years. Even when people werenâ€™t around, she was. She didnâ€™t mind my Glenda-ish or my jerky movements. She enjoyed her invigorating massages when I came home and she told me when she had had enough.
Wednesday, May 15th, was the first (and, sadly, the last) time she didnâ€™t greet me when I came home. Now coming home is not the same; there is no pure joy to greet me.
Our lives were so entwined. The other day I was focusing on getting my autobiography up on CreateSpace (watch for an announcement soon), which was keeping the tears at bay for a while. I needed to write a short author bio, so I grabbed mine from Amazonâ€™s author page. I updated about now being a motivational speaker (although I am not feeling very motivational or even motivated at the moment). Then further down was the line:
Glenda now lives in Surrey (near Vancouver) not far from where she attended elementary school. Although Glenda feels like she has gone full circle, this time around living in the area she has her husband of 15 years, Darrell, who also has cerebral palsy which makes life twice as interesting, and her 16 year old feline kid Faith.
The tears started, again. My initial response was to delete those few words. But that didnâ€™t feel right. Faith cannot simply be deleted (with a few keystrokes) from my life. After some thought overnight, i revised the sentence to read â€œâ€¦and memories of her beloved seventeen year old Faith kitty.â€ Perhaps that is not how author bios are to be written, but that is what feels right to me at the moment.
Like my husband Darrell, Faith had been beside me the whole way on my journey from being non-verbal to becoming a motivational speaker. The discerning reader will find her presence on my speaker site.
Hereâ€™s a little secret few people know: in my stocking several Christmases ago I received socks with a cat applique. They became my Faith socks and, when they were easily found while packing, i took them on every trip. I always had Faith with me whenever I presented. I canâ€™t imagine giving a presentation without my Faith and I am not sure I can wear the socks without tearing up.
Faith is everywhere yet nowhere.
Earlier today I put some clean clothes from the dryer onto the bed to put away later. She would have jumped onto the bed and snuggled in on the edge of the pile for a nap until I came to put them away.
She then would have jumped into the armoire when I opened a door or drawer. Next she probably would have been up on my scooter chair arm while I was hanging up the rest of my clothes and trying to jump onto the high closet shelf. She managed to do that a few times. Or, of course, into the linen closet. She opened the door herself, particularly during stormy weather if I didnâ€™t open it for her first.
Even when showering, she was there. She would jump onto the shower bench, beside me, for a pat or two. After I pulled the curtain closed, she would poke her head in around the other side of the curtain to make sure I was still there, then she would settle down on my scooter and wait. When I was done, Iâ€™d say, â€œFaith, Mommy needs her chair now, please,â€ and sheâ€™d jump down like she had a clue what I had said. Although, in recent months, she needed extra encouragement to relinquish my chair.
Likewise, in recent weeks, when I climbed into bed she would be on my chair before I had barely stood up. Looking back on those evenings, Iâ€™m not sure if she was telling me it was bedtime or if it was her chair time. I guess it was the same result. And, after not too long, she would jump back over to the bed to cuddle and purr â€“ the best sound in the world!
No matter where I was or what I was doing, Faith wasnâ€™t far away.
The other night Darrell commented that Faith and I weren’t intertwined, but that we were one, just in two different forms. And that people who didn’t see that were blind. (No offense intended.) Perhaps that is why a part of me feels like it is missing.
Well intending people have asked me about getting another kitty; one asked even before Faithâ€™s ashes had been returned. Another individual said that I would forget about Faith. How could I ever forget a seventeen year friendship?
Faith cannot be replaced and she will never be forgotten. Her little kitty paws are too tightly wrapped around my heart for that to happen. With time, the tears will likely be replaced with happy memories. But, for now, I am sad and missing my kitty like stinkâ€¦and that is okay. Nothing says life needs to be a perpetual state of happiness.