This blog is for all the partners of the less abled who wonder how my husband Henning manages and what his side of the experience.
My first thought when I met Kati’s mother: what a strong and hard woman. It was until later on that day when we had our first alone conversation and I saw her human side. Even then, I still thought of her as a hard woman.
As time passed by and the more I learned about their life and all the dynamics of the circumstance I began to understand why she was so hard. As I saw the situations that she had to face on a daily basis at any moment without any warning, I understood the reasons for her behavior.
When you are taking care of a person that relies entirely on you for even the minutest things, everything changes especially your priorities. Kati always comes first. When Kati is safe and alright, then you can look and care about yourself or others. It may seem that you close your eyes to the outer world. To others, you may be cruel and hard. However, this is not the truth. It is just a matter of first things first, and Kati comes first.
On a certain day after living a few years with Kati, I realized that I had also become this way. I had become colder and harder than Marjatta. In some cases, I did not even seem human. I was unattached; I was blind to the emotional part of situations.
Luckily, for me that same occurrence opened my eyes to this reality and helped me to regain my humanity again.
Kati and I are living together for over five years now, and I can honestly say that I am the only one that treats Kati as a normal person. Everyone treats Kati his or her own particular way. I do not blame them. They used to know what used to be the normal Kati. That situation has changed and, so is their behavior towards her.
It is a beautiful thing to see, how people adapt to a situation and show their better sides in their own particular way. Some become more protective others more compassionate, etc.
Of course, not everyone can adapt to situation. There are people that just do not know how to act around her. Some treat her like she is retarded and others treat her with pity. Sometimes it is hard for me to deal with this, but I have learned to manage and get along.
There are always people that want to help, yet there are also always the ones who treat Kati in a passive aggressive, hostile matter. Sometimes they open the door to Kati, and sometimes the door is slammed in the face of the disabled.
One learns to ignore the negative parts and move ahead with positivity. I learned that from Kati. Not to pay attention to the negative and always to be positive. Kati also taught me how to laugh at myself and to be less critical.
The one thing that I admire the most about Kati is her spirit, which is in no way disabled. I mean in no way at all. She has an upbeat spirit but does not have that need to prove herself not to herself, to the world or no one else. She is a woman that is full of life with an incredibly positive attitude (one might think that she is naïve) that does not care if people think if she is silly or a bit crazy.
I used to be a person that always lived for the future, what is next. Kati taught me how to live in the present. Enjoy the moment, the here and now. There is no sense looking up to the future if you are not going to enjoy it when you get to it.
On our wedding day as we were strolling up to the altar, everyone’s eyes were on Kati. I raised my head and looked at the priest as he was wiping a tear away from his eye. At this moment, I knew that our union is not just, the biggest thing in our lives but for humanity, it and we have to share this with the world.