The Other I

March 2, 2009

It’s not what we aren’t that counts

Filed under: Just Stuff,Survival Strategies — theotheri @ 9:38 pm

Late last week the six year old son of Britain’s Tory leader died.   Ivan was rushed to hospital from home in the middle of the night and died several hours later.

The members of Parliament, the media, and the public have been deeply sympathetic, and it is evident that David Cameron, his wife, and two younger children are devastated.  Cameron has spoken before about how much his eldest son has meant to him, how much he enriched the whole family and brought it closer together, and it is impossible to believe that their grief is not profound.

Losing a child must almost always be terrible, whatever the circumstances.  What is so extraordinary in Ivan’s case was that he was severely disabled from birth.  He was never able to walk or talk.  And yet according to all reports he emanated love.  Cameron says that it has given him a profound appreciation of the value of the disabled to society, and first hand experience of the difficulties they face from those who think that the disabled are somehow lesser human beings.

Most of us assume most of the time, I think, that our worth and that of others springs from our gifts – whether they are of intelligence, wit, beauty, athletic ability, the ability and willingness to care for others.

But here is a child who lived a short six years, who never spoke so much as a word who has influenced public opinion by his sheer existence.  And whose value is beyond price.

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