Brothers, vacations and wheelchairs

We used to vacation as a family at Severn Lodge, a lovely little family-run resort on the Trent-Severn waterway, a couple of hours north of the city.  These photos were taken during one of those vacations, in 2004, and are representative of the love and general goofiness between Angus and Owen.

I am reminded of something in these photos – Owen’s wheelchair was an integral part of him and his identity.  Angus used to hang off of it, sit in it, decorate it, push it around…  If we were walking down the street together Angus would always seek to maintain contact with it somehow.

I hated the equipment for the most part.  The maintenance, the unreliability, the immense space each took up, the fear of a broken wheelchair – the reality of which would bring about impossible situations.  As my blogging pals continue to suffer the indignities of relying on equipment and related services for quality of life for their children, I find myself feeling sentimental.

I hear his wheelchair creaking as he wiggles.  I see the trackmarks and dirt in the carpet he leaves behind.  I smell the vaguely sickly scent of leaked formula and sweat that penetrates the foam cushions.    I feel the comfort of seeing Owen’s wheelchair because it means he must be close by.

The day I donated his equipment was one of the hardest days.



  1. I loved the way Angus would flip the top part (the sun shade) back and forth hiding Owen and then revealing him, in a peek-a-boo sort of fashion. I remember the very first time he did that as we were out on a walk and thinking oh my that might scare him. And of course, it didn’t. It was a game as we walked…he would erupt with laughter, cackling at Angus.

    Angus reminded me in many ways that Owen wasn’t a baby – he wasn’t as fragile as us caregivers would think at first. He was a goofball, a trickster, a brother…

  2. gorgeous photos Jen

    I cannot imagine how hard it was to see Owen’s wheelchair gone

  3. Your boys are both so gorgeous. I love how you noticed Angus’ proximity to the wheelchair, to his brother — so beautiful. I am sorry that heartbreak is piled upon heartbreak.

  4. I feel like I know Owen a little through reading your posts of him and your family. What a wonderful way to honor him and help others feel like they are not alone. I don’t know that I could have donated his wheelchair, through sheer selfishness to keep everything I could Owen, I am glad you are dealing and writing…

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