Monday, October 29, 2018

Cecil and David Rosenthal

Cecil and David Rosenthal went to church on Saturday in a quiet, sleepy town near Pittsburgh.  As special needs brothers in their 50's they were inseparable.  They also loved to attend their church, where they were well-liked and appreciated.  They never missed a Saturday service.  They were loving, gentle, and inspiring men.

On Sunday I couldn't help but watch my son as he was sitting in church.  It was impossible not to think about the synagogue in Pittsburgh and how those worshipers were in their sanctuary just like him.  They felt a sense of safety and belonging.  They were innocent, just like Tyler.  And as it turns out, they were vulnerable, just like Tyler.

It's a nightmare that as special needs parents we think about more often than we would like to....what if this happened in my church?  What if this happened at his school?  What if this happened to my son?  How do I protect him?  

Cecil, David, and Tyler rely on all of us to provide a safe world for them.  They rely on US to be their voice.  When they aren't getting the services they need, we have to stand up for them.  When facilities don't adequately provide for their care, we have to stand up for them.  When laws need to be evaluated and changed, it is up to all of us to fight for that change.  Now more than ever as caregivers we must make our voices heard.  Every year the need for quality care increases while the funding continues to be decreased.  Every day the negative rhetoric intensifies and the positive messages we need to hear grow more silent.

Cecil and David need to remain in our hearts but more importantly, they need to start being at the core of who we are.  Our decisions every we treat each other...our priorities...our leaders...need to start and end with values like compassion, faith, and understanding.  Without these values we cannot honor Tyler or Cecil or David.  We have to be willing to be the voice for what is right.

Our boys are depending on it.  Cecil and David....this is for you.  

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