It was almost a year ago that at work we were uncertain as to our department’s future and unable to get a straight answer from anyone. This created a “the sky is falling!” atmosphere which was stressful to say the least. Although I was certain that my personal circumstances wouldn’t permit me to return after the summer break I went to “save our jobs” meetings. I participated in a rather public way in trying to stop what was happening with a letter to the editor of several of our local papers. It was printed in our county paper and in the online version of a local free publication. It was copied, printed, and posted around our work area by my coworkers. It was an excellent letter, I was told by many. That was quite gratifying for a writer such as me! I went to meetings, I wrote a speech for a coworker. I tried along with the rest of my department and some from other departments and the union to stop the inevitable. I was sucked into the panic and guess what? The sky fell; well partially. We all still had jobs with a new company if we chose to take them. I took a job with them as they were willing to work with my personal situation and so far so good.
In the past couple weeks I have been barraged with information about changes to the services my disabled daughter receives; and a call to arms. “The sky is falling!” once again, this time at the state level. I wasn’t going to join in, my plan was to stay informed; but guess what? I got sucked in and wrote a letter which I sent to the governor, our state’s department of health and human services, and posted on the Facebook page advocating against the proposal. ‘It’s a great letter!’ ‘Very clear and to the point!’ ‘Wonderful strong words!’ Those are some of the comments I received. Once again gratifying for a writer; but very public and out of my comfort zone. What’s worse for me personally though is that this letter made me confront the ways in which my child is lacking. For over 22 years I’ve been by turns confronting and on some level ignoring those things while still dealing with them. Yet here I am laying it out there for the entire world to see. It’s heart wounding, it hurts, it stinks. I prefer to focus on the positives about her; all the things that she is and not what she is not. Will it do any good? Will any of this stop the proposal as it is written from being adopted? Let’s hope that there are a sufficient number of us willing to lay it all out there to make a difference and change the proposal so that it is fair to all. If not, the sky may indeed fall; or at least part of it, and I’ll be picking up the pieces again.