Health care is a basic human right, not a privilege. For some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves as Americans to be fooled into accepting that one must be blessed with “means” to actuate appropriate health care. As a nation we have failed to realize that our health care system is a barometer of our society’s value for human life.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Journey Within

Dear Kathie,
I had to come and see your website! I am in class 25 of Partners in Policymaking in Minnesota this year. In our first month's resource packet we were literally inundated (in a good way!) with your articles. As I made my way through your various articles, everything you said made more and more sense. I am attending Partners as a parent of a child with a developmental disability. In one of your articles you mentioned an adult named Howard who broke into tears during a Partners training after he told you about how his father always introduced him as "retarded". After reading this tears sprung into my own eyes. I can't say how many times I have flippantly told others, in front of my son, my son's diagnosis. You have opened my eyes in more ways than one.

I later had a short conversation with my son and apologized for any time I ever discussed his diagnosis and acted like he wasn't around. My son is 7, and do you know what he said? He said: "It's okay mom, but just don't do it anymore, ok?" And then he cried

I honestly never realized I was hurting him.

Thank you so much for opening my eyes!

I am so excited for the rest of Partners. You ve mentioned in a few places on your website how Partners changed your life. I can already say it has changed mine.

The pivotal aspect of this experience was not writing the email to Kathie, or even the realizations I had as I read her articles. It was the exchange I later shared with Sandis. I can’t easily explain the sinking feeling I felt when, after apologizing to my son, I realized he knew exactly what I was apologizing for and that it had been a source of hurt for him time and again. I see my children cry often, but I never want those tears to be a result of my own callousness.

This entire experience gave back to my son the respect and humanity I had unintentionally taken away from him.

I spend so much time attempting to change others’ views so my son is regarded as an equal with other children and as deserving of inclusion and respect as any other child. I have learned that this change begins with me and my own actions. Hopefully this will encourage others to follow suit.

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