Two very different disabilities=one very happy marriage

CANE FOR BLINDI met Bryan McMurray years ago when we were both in Champaign-Urbana at the University of Illinois. Bryan was born blind, and his wife Joanna uses a power wheelchair — she contracted juvenile rheumatoid arthritis when she was five. Bryan graciously agreed to write a guest post for our Easterseals national blog today about ways their interdependence helps them create a loving home.

by Bryan McMurray

My wife Joanna and I have been married 23 years. I still see as well – or as poorly, I guess — as ever! And my darling wife? She now uses a small power chair for inside the house, an all-terrain power chair to shop and zoom around outside, and she drives our minivan.  For seven months of the year she uses me (and the muscles I thankfully acquired from 15 years of high school and collegiate wrestling) to lift her in and out of our swimming pool.

We how we work together all the time, and one of the things we enjoy doing together is cooking.  In other words, I don’t mind cooking, as long as Joanna does it! She is happy to cook, but has to have everything right in front of her, within reach. So I get everything she needs to use to cook arranged. The result: we eat amazing healthy meals, I haven’t burned the house down (yet), and we love every minute we are together cooking and eating.

Of course, we have our moments. Take the morning Joanna decided to organize her spice area and forgot to tell me she had left the big (I mean big) full bottle of garlic olive oil on the table where she cooks. I was wiping the table, fast and efficient-like, and and that lovely-smelling bottle of garlic oil crashed to the floor. Our little poodle jumped in the middle of the oil and glass, and, well, even those of you hardly paying attention to this love saga will have a good idea of how we spent the rest of that morning together.

I was able to retire early from my position at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana six years ago due to budgetary constraints and inducements. To think, now we get to live every day together, almost always together, and we love it.

We spend much time — and both of our hearts — reaching out to and helping international students, and we do really live as if every single day was our last here on this earth. I love words, but have none to describe how wonderful, and fun, and amazing, and beyond words, it really is living together with this woman I love so much.


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  1. cindy Says:

    how refreshing and encouraging to have a glimpse into your daily lives. the encouragement you’ve given me. thanks so much for sharing.

  2. What an awesome story! Thanks for sharing and bless you both for eating healthy! Says:

    Thanks for sharing….beautiful story! Stay healthy😉

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