18 April 2009

More than a Label

These past few days, I've had lots of time to visit with Dad's hospice nurses.  They are wonderful, wonderful people (I think I blogged about this yesterday--I'm just in awe of the gift these people have, to be here for families during the last moments...sigh.  I caould go on and on.).  Anyway, there's been lots of time for reflection.  I see a lot of similarities between nursing and working in special ed., probably for obvious reasons.  

This morning when I was in the shower, I was thinking about what's to come and remembering when my Grandma died.  It broke my heart for a long time, I won't lie.  I almost got off track there, but I remember why I started...the point was, I knew I was healing when I started to think of Grandma the way she was before she got so sick, before our time with her was defined by her health issues and needs.  And then I thought of Dad.  It's so hard to let go, but in a lot of ways (and I think Ronny would agree, that's my closest brother), we've been letting go of Dad a bit at a time for years.  He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease 9 years ago this spring, and then after his open heart surgery 2 years later he retired.  After he recovered from surgery, he took over the cooking and has been feeding us ever since.  He's had good days and not so good days, and some straight up bad days.  In the back of my mind, though, he was always "sick."  Honestly, I think we all kind of thought of him in that way...not that he was less of a person, but that he was capable of less, maybe...it's hard to explain.  But you probably understand anyway, don't you?  Anyway, after he was diagnosed with cancer in July, I hate to say that cancer has defined his life, and ours.  

But anyway, last week I was blessed by a conversation with my friend Sherri, who recently lost her sister to cancer.  We talked about how Julie was more than the cancer that took her down in the end, but that she was/is 30 some odd years of living and loving, and being human.  Who we are defines us--not the "thing" that tries to take over.  

So here's the point, and why I'm blogging about this here...let's remember that kids are more than the label that comes on their paperwork.  Above all, and we've been hearing this for years:  they're PEOPLE.  No matter how able a person is, he or she still has likes and dislikes and strengths and weaknesses...and let's not forget that.  In working with kids, let's look at the label and take that into consideration, but let's come at teaching from a standpoint of reaching the kid behind that label.  

Let's think on that one a while, and come back to it another day.  

1 comment:

Kristin said...

Here here Sister! You said it perfectly.