Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Hope For The Future
The belief in the inner beauty of each and every human being is at the heart of L’Arche…and at the heart of being human… We do not discover who we are, we do not reach true humanness, in a solitary state; we discover it through mutual dependency, in weakness, in learning through belonging.
-Jean Vanier, Becoming Human
I believe my biggest fear in life is what is going to happen after my death – happen to Ashley.
Ashley has made great strides in her short life. Doctors said she wouldn’t live – then said she wouldn’t walk – then said she would never communicate. From infancy, they recommended institutionalization. As my regular readers know, those doctors were very, very wrong. But, Ashley will need support throughout her life.
Just as Helen Keller needed assistance, so will Ashley. So, my challenge is figuring out how to ensure that assistance even after I am no longer able to provide it myself.
My experience with run-of-the-mill group homes is not good. Even under the best of situations, I don’t know of any group homes that are equipped or knowledgeable enough to support a person with deafblindness. My oldest son has tossed around the idea of establishing a group home, a group home done right, when he graduates from college. But that idea is mingled with a lot of other dreams he has, so I can’t count on that happening. And, I often feel that it is selfish of me to expect him to continue to care for his sister after I am gone. I know without a doubt that no one could care for her better, and I do pray that even if he chooses not to be her lifelong caregiver that he will at least stay very close to her.
I was offered a glimmer of hope last week when I read an article about L’Arche, a group that enables people with and without disabilities to share their lives in communities of faith and friendship. I’ve visited their website and like what I see there. I plan to explore this option a lot more, but I’m interested if any of you know of or have heard anything about L’Arche.
I know Ashley is just 14 years old, but the time to start planning for the future is now, not later, in my humble opinion.