By Ruth Limkin
I think often of a conversation I had last year with a woman whose daughter had a disability.
She and I were sitting together at a lunch I attended. We got talking about the community research I was engaged in, and she shared about the very limited support available for parents raising children who required higher levels of care.
She wasn’t asking for pity, and considered herself quite fortunate with her circle of friends and family. Yet not all are so lucky. I thought of her again this morning when I read the following article, which is heartbreaking on so many levels.
The drowning death of this young girl is now the subject of a coronial inquiry, amidst reports that her parents, finding it overwhelming trying to cope with their daughter’s developmental delays, spoke of suicide, harming the child and inquired about euthanasia.
The feeling of being overwhelmed is an awful one, and it’s heartbreaking that they saw no way out.
Those with a disability are so often forgotten about in a society preoccupied with perfection. Yet they and their families deserve all the support we can give – and more.
Government funding is often limited and families are left to try to raise funds for expensive equipment by themselves, or through the generosity of community organisations.
These organisations are important, not just because of the equipment or relief they provide. They also provide something of infinitely more value – they build community, and they nurture hope, particularly for those who are feeling overwhelmed.
Community and hope. Their presence makes a difference. Sadly, so does their absence.