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  • Writer's pictureKaren L

A Mitzvah Revealed Admist Major Mayhem

Darcy Bishop is someone I will never know. She lives in Naples, Florida. She exemplifies incredible bravery, self-sacrifice, love, and commitment. Regardless of whether she has made the best decision for herself to care for her disabled brothers, she did a mitzvah for them. A mitzvah is a good deed which bonds one with others. The Talmud states, "whoever saves a single life" is considered by this holy book "to have saved the entire world." This mitzvah is also known as Tikkun Olam or repairing the world. I greatly admire Darcy Bishop whose life is more difficult than mine. I do not know why Ms. Bishop did not evacuate. She had family and friends around the state. She cared for two handicapped brothers, one wheelchair bound and strenuous to transport. Reportedly, she recently underwent knee replacement surgery and was not supposed to put unnecessary strain on her knee. Ms. Bishop is no longer a young woman, though she is at least doing the work of two full time health aides, not to say housekeeper, cook, and advocate. She and her brothers are in their sixties. During Hurricane Ian, her house began to flood. She decided to move her siblings to the second floor. One brother walked up the steps without much distress. The other brother was unable to complete this task due to Cerebral Palsy (CP). Ms. Bishop dragged him up the stairs. I can imagine her frustration and exhaustion as she struggled, in panic, sweat pouring into her eyes. To drag an immobile man up a staircase would be a nearly impossible task for an average woman. Ms. Bishop demonstrated ingenuity and adaptation. She pulled on her brother through the use of belts. The two 60 + year olds could not reach the top. They literally went up a few steps and then down. Her brother experienced pain; Darcy perspired and strained, but it was too much. Her other brother, also physically handicapped, was unable to help. You see, in addition to CP, these brothers have developmental disabilities. As the water rose in the house, she felt impending doom. Ms. Bishop spoke with her daughter. Travel was impossible by this time. She called her parents in Wisconsin to say goodbye. Darcy brought pillows and cushions to her brother, so he would be relatively comfortable. Then she proceeded to save herself or give up. Ms. Bishop did not hold out hope. Miracuously, the water began to recede; she fell asleep; and, upon awakening, realized she had survived (as well as her brothers). Soon after, friends arrived, called other people, and the two brothers and sister lived.

Of course, the house will be demolished, and most of the belongings are ruined. As the insurance industry sets in motion, impossible tasks are imposed on people like Darcy and her family in order to be reimbursed. This is a woman who does not have a typical job due to the injuries she has developed due to the strain of her difficult life. She probably does not possess savings or investments. I hope a good samaritan helps her. I certainly would if I knew she would get the help and not some scammers. Irregardless, her behavior serves to show us that there are still those who sacrifice to help family members, no matter what the circumstances. Her humble life and self-sufficient attitude are remarkable. There are certainly those in Florida who lost beach houses that were built where no house should go. I am fairly certain, Florida is a state that caters to the wealthy instead of the needy. These affluent second homeowners will work the system to be reimbursed by insurance and obtain whatever aid is available. But, it is the folks who have lost their only property and valued possessions and will be left penniless and poorer than before the storm. This is the reality of life--those who get ahead, stay ahead; those who have an education and a decent living, pension, or investments have a safety net. I am one of the lucky ones in terms of a cushion in case of emergency. But, I, like Ms. Bishop, have taken on the responsibility of caring for a disabled family member. My adult daughter with Autism does not get much assistance from our liberal state. They feel she is not "disabled enough." So I understand Ms. Bishop's plight somewhat though not completely. The Bishop family members are the innocent victims of tragedies all over the world--not bums or lazy people. But strong individuals who have made excrutiating decisions when faced with burdensome situations. I Did All I Could’: As Floodwaters Rose, She Fought to Save Her Disabled Brothers

©2022 Karen Levi

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