Letter: When ‘thank you’ isn’t enough

Sunday, December 31, 2017
When ‘thank you’ isn’t enough

As a parent of a 35-year-old with disabilities, I’ve gotten used to others being part of our lives so my daughter can access a good life. Families like mine rely on support professionals to make life as ordinary as possible. To say I rely on Nicki, Kelly’s primary support person, is an understatement. I can go to work each day with a clear conscience, confident that Kelly is in good hands.

Earlier this month, they narrowly missed being hit head-on by an impaired driver. Only Nicki’s quick reflexes avoided a collision. Then, after stopping at the roadside to recover, the other car hit a telephone pole, snapping it. Again Nicki’s attention took over as she moved the car further over so the falling pole missed the top of the van. But, the fallen pole draped live electrical wires over the top of and around the van, trapping the two of them in the vehicle. The wait seemed long until electrical crews shut all the power down so they could escape. Firefighters helped keep Nicki calm.

What struck me is Nicki refused to leave Kelly. She could have exited the van early, but she would not take herself out of danger unless both she and Kelly could be rescued together. Nicki not only saved their lives a few times, but put herself at further risk for the sake of Kelly. As a parent, what do you say to that? Thank you feels very inadequate.