Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Double trouble… or doubly blessed?

In one sense, there was nothing unusual this morning about seeing a mother standing waiting at the roadside with her twins. What was unusual was that she had two pushchairs, with a twin in each. The boys looked as though they were aged about 7 or 8 and quite severely mentally and physically handicapped. Both of them were so alike and bore such a close resemblance to the woman accompanying them that she simply had to be their mother, waiting for someone to help her with the twins. With the best will in the world, nobody could have managed to single-handedly push the two prams down the busy road. That she had succeeded in reaching the spot where she was standing meant that the helper had to be nearby, if invisible to my eyes.

Who was that woman? One can only imagine the pain experienced on discovering that both of her sons would be incapable of leading a normal life. Did she have the support she needed or was she kept at a distance by her disappointed family? She was a Bangladeshi. Did her husband blame her for ‘imperfect’ sons, or was he as devastated as she, trying to come to terms with his disappointment and give his family all the love and care that they needed?

For sure, the two boys receive great care and attention. Even a brief glimpse in passing by served to reveal as much. They were beautifully clean and tidy, well-dressed and comfortable in their chairs. Their very appearance also testified to the heroism and the love of their parents.

For any parent, the birth of a disabled child is a cause of sadness. It is inevitably a challenge. There have to be the unanswerable questions, “Why me?”, “Why my baby?” For a couple to have to come to terms with more than one disabled child is even harder and even more deserving of the understanding and prayers of others.

The woman at the roadside this morning did not know that she was setting the world an example of heroic and self-sacrificing love. May many people have open eyes and hearts that will receive the lessons that she, unknowingly, taught as she stood and waited patiently.

May God bless her and all parents in her position in life, giving them the courage and strength that they will need as they put love into practise.

God bless,
Sr. Janet