Supermarket Couples: The images of elderly moms and middle-aged special needs adult children walking down the aisles of local markets always haunted me. Long before I had my own special child, I would see these twosomes and wonder what would happen to this special adult when their parent died? It all seemed so sad and depressing to me. Was this projection or was I accurate in picking up a despair and impatience on the parent’s part? Or exhaustion. I will never know but that image served as an incentive many years later for me to actively seek a future for our daughter that would not be dependent on parental care.
Isolation and Loneliness: I suspect that the despair I imagined in them, I had felt inside myself at times. Though never “special needs” I did marry late and know loneliness and the lack of a partner. Perhaps that predisposed me to think that these mother/child couples were despairing as well. I am relieved that I dodged that bullet for all of us. The special needs world has morphed and improved in some regards, inclusion being one of its greatest blessings. My children and their peers have shared classroom space and hallways in the company of challenged classmates. Seeing a disabled adult in a supermarket aisle is neither a novelty nor alarming for them. Despite these gains, the new trend is towards less government funding and the recent political and economic climate is frightening. Our daughter is now dependent on the decisions of politicians who are strangers to her and obsessed with defeating their rivals.
New Scenarios To Fear: This is a new fear. We dodged one big bullet, but will there be others to hit at the core of our daughter’s future stability? I don’t know. But I do know that though we got her “here”, I am not certain that the world will let us keep her “here.”
Fingers Crossed: We are the lucky ones, so far. She is the lucky one. But this country is moving more towards relinquishing the helping hand to those less fortunate and that is a new haunting scenario for me.
©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011