2013 Disability Sunday

When I was asked to speak this morning, I had no idea of what I wanted to say, so for lack of anything more inspiring, I thought I’d talk a bit about my last few weeks with a fractured tibia. When I learned that it was a fracture, I thought golly gosh, and dearie me.  Well that’s my story! One reaction was that it’s another setback to get over, and I’ve coped with worse. My other equally strong reaction was what if it doesn’t get better, as with two previous fractures.  Fortunately it’s coming right. I’ve struggled with this a lot, partly because it has been yet another set back. I was thinking about this when listening to a neighbour who’d just had her3 year old in hospital. The attending nurse was apparently not sympathetic when the child screamed at an injection, but her mum pointed out that she’d been poked and prodded for over two hours, and an injection was just one thing too many. When I did my talk this time last year, I touched briefly on the thought that congenital disability isn’t necessarily accompanied by the knowledge of how to cope. I’d like to read this article titled A Can of Worms, written by Kari-Anne West.

I believe one aspect of need for disabled people is not usually identified, and that’s specialised counselling for the emotional impact of being born with a disability. With acquired disability, whether through accident or medical condition, it is accepted that various emotions will be experienced; sadness, anger, fear, grief. But why is this natural understanding not there for those with disability from birth ? The very young child does not have the words to describe the gradual awareness of being different. It is never my intention to minimise the suffering of any person, but I want to set aside the view that if you’re born with a disability you naturally accept it.      End of quote.

My feeling is that there should be room for accepting and expressing grief for the potential which was never there to begin with.

What have I learnt?  Well, one thing is that opposing reactions are okay, and not mutually exclusive. And secondly, how much I appreciate the way my Church family is there for me whatever state I’m in !   Thank you all.

Bev Sutherland