the drone from the radio cut through the silence
the letter with the diagnosis lay on the table surrounded by crumbs and spittle
grace lay still, on the floor where she had slid off the chair
mother, carer, confidence – she sat at the table
glancing at the letter, glancing at grace
eating her breakfast.
Yesterday like any other she was up at seven, getting Grace out of bed, washing her face, pulling on her clothes, making her laugh.
Yesterday at nine the man came to take Grace to the therapy centre, she went three times a week since she finished school.
Yesterday she wrote another article on advocacy of children with disabilities, posting it on her way to the clinic.
Yesterday she was positive – Grace was a blessing, teaching her so much about life, even battling cancer with a lighter touch.
that was Yesterday and today there is a letter.
the letter came in the early morning post
she had no support to lean against whilst she read the damning report
husbands vanished, parents dead, siblings elsewhere
friends – people come and go as it suits them
she long ago stopped trying to keep them
grace didn’t move, she was never going to move again
she was half way through her breakfast
had she forgotten anything?
read letter again – three weeks to live
add in enough valium to kill an elephant
ARTICLE (published in newspaper following week)
Watching my daughter interact with the world fills me with such pride. She cannot walk or hold her head up, she has no sight and can only respond to certain sounds, but, she loves her life. Her smile lights up the room, melting the coldest of hearts. She was born too early, with not enough immediate care, but she doesn’t know that. She has no concept of light and shape, she doesn’t know what the ground feels like as she walks on the grass. But to say she isn’t viable is wrong. To tell me that I made a wrong choice is a bad comment. My daughter and I live a different life and yet very similar to your own. We get up, we do chores, we eat breakfast and we go to work and school. Later we eat dinner and watch bad soaps on television and eat ice cream. Do not judge us if we make too much noise in the mall, if we can’t get through the doors that are not wide enough for the chair. Think before you speak. Befriend a parent with a disabled child. Speak to them – you may be the only one to do so all week. Most of all care, not pity but care about them.