Wichita City Council member Becky Tuttle has put in a lot of miles since September. Repeated eight-hour drives to help her ailing parents have been stressful, but a small gesture from a friend has helped keep her spirits up.
"One of my dear friends, a colleague at the city, Karen Sublett, who is our amazing city clerk, who is just a great person and an asset to the city of Wichita, asked me how my weekend was. And I told her that my mom and dad live in Iowa. Eight-hour drive each way. My mom fell and ended up getting put in a care facility. She has Parkinson’s so it made it more complicated. And during the process we also realized that my dad has dementia, much more severe than we thought. They were really compensating for each other with her poor physical health and his mental health.
"So, since September, I’m going every other weekend to see my mom. I can’t see her in the care facility, but I can wave, and talk to her through the window. And help my dad around the house and make sure he has what he needs and is taking his medication and doing everything that he needs to do for his health as well. Making the trip alone, it’s really wearing on me sometimes. But I know it’s the right thing to do.
"And so, I randomly shared my story, and the next day, I go to my office, and I have an amazing card from her but also this great plaque, that says, 'You’re stronger than you think.' Every time I make the trip, this goes with me in the car. So, if I get tired, or I think, 'Oh, my gosh, I can’t make this drive again,' I look down and I remember that I am strong. And I can do it. So she really goes with me every trip. I mean it’s like a probably, five-dollar piece of wood. But it just meant so much to me. She took the time to bring me something that was so small but yet so big."