Julie is a woman who helps me with my mother. This morning, they went out to run errands, one of which brought them to SUNY Fredonia. While on campus, Julie went into Starbucks to pick me up a coffee.
As she drops off the coffee, I notice that the sleeve was different. The sleeve had one word printed on it, “upstander.” I had never heard of this word before so I decided to look it up. Doing so had an immediate impact on me.
Upstander (n): a person who acts to make positive change. Upstander is the opposite of “inertia,” which is defined as the tendency to do nothing or remain unchanged.
I am the major caregiver of my mother who is 92 years old and has been a stroke survivor for over 25 years with expressive aphasia and paralysis on her right side. For the last 10 years she has not been able to walk. What a perfect noun to describe my mother–upstander. Over the years, she has had to constantly change in order to better her life and make it easier for me.
Image being in her body and not being able to speak as you had before, unable to perform the seemingly mundane tasks we take for granted, or to live your life as you had before. Thinking of this brings me to tears. I desire that my actions allow me to be called an upstander!