Human beings are not good at predicting how they will react in circumstances that have yet to unfold. Those of us working in healthcare understand that life-altering illness, trauma or anticipation of death can sometimes sap the will to live. In those instances, healthcare providers are called upon to commit time; time to manage distress, provide unwavering support and to assuage fear that patients might be abandoned to their hopelessness and despair. That is the essence of how medicine has traditionally responded to suffering. Stopping time by way of arranging the patient's death has never been part of that response.
I believe we all just want to leave a gentle footprint on this earth, and for me, that means striving to go to bed each night feeling I've made a difference, and hopefully left things better than the way I found them. Am I able to say that I meet that challenge each day -- definitely, "no." Life has a way of getting in the way, and as is most often the case, I'm the one who's in my own way.
It is incredible to see how people with disabilities are being included and advocated for now, compared to how they have been treated and excluded in the past. The work is not done yet; there are still many ways to improve the quality of life and opportunities available for people with disabilities in Ethiopia.
My daughter would come home sad everyday. She would cry every week. We would have pep talks regularly, but I could not mend her broken heart. I could not take back the words kids said to my child. Her loneliness haunted me. As a mother, I was watching a child dying on the inside. It was like watching a beautiful flower wilting in the cold.
When I discovered that my daughter was having a hard time adjusting to school a few years back, I did everything I could to make sure she understood that making friends was an easy task. If I learned something from my life, it's that we have some of our worst experiences as kids, so that we can grow up with thick skins and deal with the adult world.
Innoversity is a not-for-profit organization that has spent the past 13 years struggling with some success "to create opportunities for cultural minority, Aboriginal and disabled Canadians to actively engage with, and be reflected within, key social sectors and institutions." That's institution-speak for fighting racism and all the other isms that still stain our society, particularly our media.
For the most part, the education system has done its job. Beginning at the elementary and secondary level, students with disabilities have been given access to support and services that have allowed them, not only to participate in the education process, but to increasingly be successful. But now, it's up to employers to open their doors to the disabled.