On October 17, Trem and I had the wonderful opportunity to share our story not once, but twice to two very supportive audiences in Brandon. We had the opportunity to talk about why we feel this message is important to members of the Brandon SD in the afternoon, meeting some wonderful new people, and reconnecting with someone from both of our pasts, who was instrumental in this story being the positive one that it turned out to be. It was so great to see you Donna!
That evening we also got to share our presentation with community members who came out for the evening thanks to the efforts of Community Living Brandon. It was great to be able to talk about the friendship, the challenges, the heartache and the blessings with not only many familiar faces, but many faces that weren't. Our hope and belief is that each person that hears this story will be touched in some way. Maybe they too will connect with a person they know with a disability. Maybe they'll be a little more understanding of what the families of children with disabilities experience. Maybe they will open their hearts just a crack. Time will tell.
I am honored to have a young man like Trem to do this with. His understanding and passion for this work is way beyond his young years. His honesty and authenticity is appreciated by all who come out I am sure. We're two more fortunate people that Shane managed to bring together to continue to work towards change. Funny how life goes isn't it?
We both really want to thank Community Living Brandon for this opportunity and the organizing that went into it. I know there was a lot of work done to make this happen! Community Living Brandon is a great group of people who are working really hard in Brandon and area to try and make change for people with disabilities. To help families find the resources and support they need, and to help those in the adult world to advocate for things like wage improvements, that will help people with disabilities hire and retain staff that can come to see this as a career, rather than just a job. If you want to know more about some of the initiatives that they are undertaking, please go to their website at http://clbrandon.com/ where you can see upcoming events. You can also get a copy of a letter that can be sent to your MLA's to ask them to look at improving the wages of people who work in the field of Supported Living, so that people who require the support can live good, full lives in their communities! It''s all about inclusion isn't it!
Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and we are blessed with so many wonderful things! An awesome fall day, family to celebrate with, food on the table, having a roof over our heads. The list can go on and on, and mine does. I am one of the luckiest people I know.
For all the challenges that have given me reason to feel less than grateful in times gone by, I have had the time and the opportunity to see that gifts that were hidden within those challenges and heartaches. But believe me, none of that happened over night. Finding the diamonds hidden in the rough patches of our lives never does come quickly or easily. But with time, it does come.
This is one of my favorite pictures of a reminder of all that I have to be grateful for, even after the heartache. It came in the form a call I got from Trem in July of 2010, shortly after he and Shane should have graduated together. Circumstance resulted in Shane not being with us to graduate in body, but he could not have been more present than he was that day in spirit! Trem won the 'Shane Dickson Memorial Award for Inclusion' that year, and Trem texted me a few days later to tell me that he was planning to have a tattoo done to honor Shane and the years that he had been with us, asking if I was okay with that. How could it ever have not been? My heart exploded.
This was the picture he texted me of the tattoo that day...raw, and new and painful...sort of like the memories we shared of Shane were like at that time. Now, over 3 more years later, the memories still can be painful, but they are less raw, and not nearly as new. The good news is that they are still just as alive and just as important as they ever were.
As we celebrate another Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the opportunity that Trem and I have to share the story of the friendship that he and Shane shared. I am grateful that Shane was blessed with a friend who recognizes the importance of sharing that story. To share the hope that that this can happen for all children, with and without disabilities. To share the hope that the story we choose to share with people will lead to more friendships, more tolerance, more opportunities, start to pave the way to eliminating bullying in our schools today. Having the opportunity to be part of the change that will move the world forward into a softer, more inclusive society is something that is so much to be Thankful for!
As you count your many blessings today, don't forget to be thank ful for the ways in which you too have an opportunity to make change for something better in our world....then go forward and find your own way to be part of that change....and be Thankful that you live in a world where you have the freedom that you can make those choices! Namaste
Lynda and Trem are Grateful knowing....
we are so lucky to have this opportunity to share the things we are doing, and the many things we are learning as we continue to work towards inclusion in all areas of the world we live in !