the ashley treatment: what we need is compassion and humility

should ashley, who may never develop mentally beyond a 3-month-old, grow up physically to be a woman, fully capable of bearing children?

you know what, i really don’t know.

i can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to be ashley or her parents. for the parents – is it like living with a small mammal? is there a spiritual dimension of ashley’s presence that i would not be able to comprehend if i hadn’t spent lots of time with her? is ashley’s condition something that one can get used to?

see, even these three scenarios that i just came up with seem utterly inadequate.

and what might it be like to be ashley? i cannot conceive of that at all.

then it gets paradoxical. while i really can’t conjure up what it would be like to live the life of ashley and her parents, i agree with david that in the end, i am/we all are ashley. and we all are her parents. in so many ways.

we all experience moments of utter helplessness and dependence. we all are sometimes faced with responsibilities and decisions that seem utterly beyond our capabilities.

and as someone deeply influenced by buddhism, i really believe that in the end we are all one, and that what helps us grow – us, that’s ashley, her parents, her doctors, you, me – is compassion and love.

so, while i couldn’t help wading a little ways into the ashley discussion – with ben, a parent of a disabled child, and with david, a young man with cerebral palsy – i need to remember that the best i can do right now is to keep contributing to this world in the best way i can, be as humble as my imperfect tendencies towards know-it-all-ness allow me to be, and to open my heart in compassion towards ashley and her parents.

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver

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