Raising little Westies, and life as parent of a special needs son


Here I am watching TV. I try not to too much but it happens.

On SBS Insight they are talking about “Forgiveness.” It’s an interesting topic to me, for quite a few reasons.

Many years ago now, my now sister-in-law’s brother was shot in an argument over what seemed to be a fairly casual relationship for both himself, and for the guy who killed him. Years later, I went on to work for over ten years in the gaol system in New South Wales. While there, I formed a great friendship with an Anglican prison chaplain, and discussed a wide range of topics over quite a few years. Including, forgiveness.

In the disabled community – forgiveness is a bit of an elephant in the room for a lot of people.

There is the disabled person. The person who is actively caring for the disabled person. Then there are all the rest of the people who share their life with the disabled person.

Everything we do, there is the burden that comes with making a choice – the more time I spend with my wife, the less I can spend with my children, but if I don’t spend enough with my wife where will my children and I be? At the same time, the more time I spend with my disabled son, hopefully, the more he will grow and develop, and become an independent, capable, “productive member of society” (the alternative of course being he will only be a burden on society).

Having made these choices, I then consider what my other children, my wife, and the rest of my family will make of the choices I have made. Some of these choices have been quite black and white: I have outright chosen to take my life in one direction at a direct cost to other parts of my life.

I hope that the example of forgiveness I set for those who are important to me is noticed, and taken on board, by the people my choices have an impact on – and in turn they can forgive me the consequence on them of the choices I have made. Regardless. Responsibility for the choices I have made rests with me, and I bear that cost.


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