Thanksgiving 59 Years Later

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain.  It’s the loneliness of it.  Memories need to be shared” – Lois Lowry, The Giver

CONFESSIONS – It is challenging to distinguish between a confession and whining however after two weeks of fighting for some hope it is time to lay out a confession.  There couldn’t be a better time than Thanksgiving.  The Thanksgiving’s over the years hold a lot of memories for me but also represent “hope”.

This whole Kavanaugh confirmation issue south of the border was quickly draining my chalice of hope and in light of the outcome I’m going to have to find a way to refill my cup.  It wasn’t so much as the accusations brought forward by Doctor Blasey Ford’s (and those shouldn’t be trivialized) but more the contempt and partisan behaviour he showed in the Senate hearings.

Personally I am getting tired of this type of mentality making it into positions of power where they can, on the whim of a personal belief, have life-long effects on other people.  I have spend my life as an activist and advocate fighting for rights and, in particular, disability rights.  Now that Kavanaugh holds the balance of power in the Supreme Court every disabled person in America is under threat.  He has already ruled on a court case against the current health care act which threatens anyone with a “pre-existing” condition.  I fear for my disabled friends in America but also see too many of these same practices seeping into Canada.  I spend the last four months in a battle with Alberta Health Care and just received my letter on Friday telling me they have reversed a decision in my favour which would have gone uncorrected if I wasn’t like a dog with a bone on these issues.

I am quite use to this two steps forward one step back when it comes to individual rights but I am personally pretty fed up with it.  I have spend a lifetime challenging policy administrators on decisions they have hoisted on me despite right or wrong.  I get tired of challenging but life goes on and if you don’t challenge you lose ground quickly.

Picture of Alberta Children's Hospital 1960

This is where I grew up. If you notice the arrow on the right side that was my room where I spend years looking at the Rocky Mountains

This is Canadian Thanksgiving and we are supposed to give thanks for what we have or what we have accomplished.  This is a picture of where I grew up in Calgary and my first recollection of something to be thankful for was there.  October 8, 1959 (I was 9 years old) was the first time I died on the operating table.

There were a lot of surgeries done around holidays to minimize “lost school time” and at least five of my surgeries happened around a Thanksgiving weekend.  We attended school in the hospital so by having that extra day on a long weekend we wouldn’t miss as much class time.  Our classrooms would be full of beds, wheelchairs and those of us that walked on crutches.  We had desks but post-surgery we attended through whatever method worked the best.  It was not uncommon to have a nurse on one side of your bed giving you a shot of demerol while your teacher was on the other side explaining your homework for the day.

So for today I give thanks for them reviving me on that surgical table 59 years ago.  I also give thanks for the same revival when I was 14 and it happened again.  I give thanks because a number of my friends never had the luxury of survival.  It is hard to “whine” when you know of so many who would never know the joy or “gluttony” of a good Thanksgiving dinner.

So enjoy your Thanksgiving and hold on to your hope…plus I am trying something new.  If you like what you read any donation would be appreciated.  I have to start paying for this and there are some costs.  If you can’t donate don’t sweat it…

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends".

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If you like what you are reading a small donation will go a long way to helping me cover the costs of keeping this up. A small donation to my e-mail goes directly to my bank…everything has a cost including information. If you can’t donate, not to worry twiens@gmail.com

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About terrywiens

Politically engaged, defender of rights whether or not I agree with the situation, techno nerd and someone who believes in open dialogue as well as open democracy. Father/grandfather and polio survivor who has maintained his own independence all of his life
This entry was posted in Disability, Personal Life, Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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