Husband struggles under the sun to take his disabled wife to the beach

Anyone who has been to southern Europe lately knows that, in most places, temperatures are exceptionally high, even by the sea. Everyone is suffering under the current heatwave, but for the elderly it's especially tough. That's why Italian blogger and photographer Enrico Galletti was particularly struck by a scene he witnessed on the beach. Under the scorching sun, a man struggled to push his disabled wife's wheelchair in the sand, just so she could enjoy looking at the water and the cool breeze blowing in. All of a sudden, everyone around fell silent.

The photo Enrico took quickly went viral, and it's easy to understand why. But Enrico's words have also struck a chord in many and are an invitation to reflection. See for yourself:

Tre chilometri. Dal parcheggio alla riva del mare. Un mare blu e cristallino. E lui l’ha voluta portare proprio lì, in...

Pubblicato da Enrico Galletti su Lunedì 7 agosto 2017

"Three kilometers. From the parking lot to the seashore. A blue and crystal-clear sea. And he wanted to bring her here, in Sardinia, to one of the most beautiful but also more difficult beaches to reach by car. And today of all days, when thermometers registered temperatures of 102 F. It looked like she was paralyzed as he, with a straw hat on his head, wiped away the drops of sweat. A 3-kilometer walk under the sun, with his wife in the wheelchair, to the shore.

102 F, peak hour. The entire beach staring at him while he, a 70-year-old man, walked uphill over a stretch of burning hot sand. I asked this man, who suddenly made me aware of how lucky I was to be able to move my legs, if he needed help. "Don't worry," he replied casually, "I'm used to it."  Used to what, I asked myself in silence, and three of us stared at each other's faces as we helped him drag the wheelchair.

That man, and I will not mention his name, made us understand that he is used to his wife's disability. That same tanned girl he met thirty years ago and fell immediately in love with. The same woman now there, sitting in a wheelchair, a smile as her only defense. Strong, true, sincere. "In good times and in bad," I thought to myself. "In sickness and in health." We continued dragging the wheelchair. I was also silent. We asked him if he wanted to take a break, telling him we would push the wheelchair back up to the parking lot for him. He didn't accept, rather kept on insisting: "You've already done so much." Another drop of sweat appeared on his forehead. "I'll never leave her alone." And again this morning, he did not bring bring her to just any place. He did not stop at the first beach, much closer to the parking lot. He brought her to the best one, this husband with whom that woman has shared a lifetime. Never mind that in 2017 there is still no path or support for disabled people here. I apologize for stealing the photo, but some pictures tell stories that deserve to be shared, with utter respect for the people involved. 

The woman thanked us with a smile, because we seemed "interesting" to her. They both smiled. I thanked them, a bit embarrassed. We said goodbye to each other. I got back under my beach umbrella and they started the long climb back to the parking lot. Within a few minutes they disappeared in the narrow dirt road. I sat bewildered, hoping to meet them again a second time. But maybe there was no need. In fact, there is no need. Because the silence continued to speak for them. And then everything made sense. Love, true love, was there."

 

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