Season of Perpetual Hope

I saw a segment on the news tonight about how Covid 19 shutdowns have affected those with disabilities.  Lives have been turned upside down.  The segment showed the struggles a mother was having with her adult son who could not go to his day program.  He had a seizure disorder and other issues.  He could not speak.  He is totally confused and is refusing to eat.  He has lost 30 pounds since this virus started affecting his life.  His mom takes him for a ride on a golf cart every day to get him out of the house.  She is exhausted and feels all the gains he had experienced are disappearing.

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I am also reminded of another story I heard recently about an individual who could not go to his day program for several months.  When it was time to return, it took him weeks to be able to go into the building and back on schedule.  Now, he would be back home again.

My son Jeremy lives in a group home. In my son’s case, they told us that, if we take him to our home, he cannot return to his group home again until all this is over.  So we sacrifice seeing him so his routine at his home will not be interrupted.  Recently he has tested positive for Covid but, fortunately, has no symptoms. His father and I were terribly worried when we got the news. He and housemates and staff have been on lockdown for two weeks.  The staff is exhausted. Fortunately, Jeremy has been described as “a real trooper” during this ordeal…a prayer answered.  

I cannot imagine the pain this situation is causing so many who have disabilities.  Students in special needs programs who miss working with their teachers, having difficulty learning via computer.  Parents having to work at home while their child is struggling to learn at home.  Adults isolated from their families and friends on whom they depend.

Like many people, I am hoping this all ends soon, especially since a vaccination is on the horizon.  How long will it take for our loved ones to make up for lost time, relearn what they have not been able to retain, is anyone’s guess. It will be tough for all of us but for those with disabilities, who have so many hurdles in their lives already, it will seem overwhelming.

But I am always amazed at how resilient Jeremy has been over the years so don’t underestimate a person’s ability to overcome what seems to be unsurmountable odds….Jeremy has done that over and over again.  Plus this has been a real trial for all of us but I do believe we all will get through it.  There was a time I thought Jeremy had lost 12 years of hard work and struggle, only to watch it all come back years later.  For families of those with disabilities, it may feel like you are losing the war but it is only one long battle.

I find strength in my faith. In the knowledge I am not alone in my struggles and neither is my son.  Christmas is the season of perpetual hope.  I cling to that hope every day, for all of us, but especially for those for whom life has been such a struggle, even before Covid 19. Please keep them in your prayers too!

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