As I walked through the streets that beautiful late winter day in Portland’s Belmont District, I had a strange sense of sadness come over me. Why I wondered? Why would I feel melancholy in an area that always had made me feel at home? There are many nice areas in Portland, but this one and Hawthorne are amongst my favorites. I can visit those areas mentally and literally almost re-experience certain days I spent there and how I felt during many different times over the years. It is hard to explain, but it is a strong feeling, and although mental, produces physical sensations I can’t describe. I feel like I am there physically to some degree. With the fond memories, I tried to figure out why this was happening.
I was out of the house and walking, which for me, is a huge thing. Physically, I wasn’t that tired or in excessive pain. My kids and husband, Barry, were with me. I made a mental note of those things, taking time to appreciate all of the good things that were happening. The absence of many symptoms I have experienced, even if it is one day, is not something to overlook.
I looked through the window of a restaurant. I don’t remember the restaurant, but two people were inside having some sort of pastries or bread. I had gone to many places in the different districts of Portland and enjoyed lunches and dinners with Barry over the years mostly before I had kids. Intoxicating aromas filled the air. I smelled pizza and saw places I had dreamed of taking our children. That would not be happening. The scent of the air was an invitation to all to come in and have a slice of pizza and any number of other things. It wasn’t a single scent or restaurant either. It was the combination of scents and sights that collectively took their toll on me. I was hungry, but more than hunger, very sad that I could not take the kids today nor on any day to eat in my favorite spots in the city.
To watch others come and go, eat, and converse for their enjoyable, unrestricted outing was very difficult. I have to admit that part of me felt angry that not much notice is taken of those who cannot eat foods due to allergies. Even in Portland, there isn’t much selection for those that have to avoid cross-contamination in food. There are three gluten free bakeries and one expensive family-style restaurant. It is socially isolating and exclusive.
Those that have dietary limitations or hidden illnesses usually understand the feelings brought on by not being able to interact with society, but not everyone else does. I wish I could say that people very close to me understood the challenges we are facing. Many don’t even take it seriously, and some have actually been openly disrespectful or talked behind closed doors. This has compounded the sadness exponentially.
Writing this doesn’t change what my family and I are experiencing, but I hope it helps show those that might not relate some of the limitations and pain. In addition to the added expenses of my illnesses, there is insult added to injury when a mom and dad realize they did not get to share certain things with their children not just for one day but ever.
To help our family, please donate a buck or two here or share this blog or story with social media. You can also help by donating for a piece of pottery. Proceeds will go to treatment. With pieces relating to Civil Rights, my plan is a small donation per purchase on those items. The close to the suggested donation, the more love to spread around.
Here is the link to a more in depth writing about my illness and the place to donate directly: https://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/cheryl-s-medical-fund/40186