I believe in many things... I believe in God, I believe in Religion, I believe in Science... I believe in freedom of choice, gender equality and I believe in same sex marriage... Above everything else I believe in a person's right to respect for their beliefs and choices.
But for as long as Nicola has been a much beloved part of our lives, we have met a certain amount of adversity and sometimes animosity from some other people. I have known for a long time that there would always be people who wouldn't agree with our choices.
But, to be honest, I never thought I would find someone who would disagree with our choice to keep Nicola alive.
I'm not naive, I always knew there would be people who would argue that her quality of life was not good enough by their standards, or who would think that the pain that she lives with, or the constant medical issues would not make her life worth living...
Yet, to be honest, I never thought I would find anyone who would not only express their opinions quite vocally to my face, but argue the point with me when I politely tried to disagree...
And that is exactly what happened on Saturday night... in front of all my family and several close family friends, at a celebration of love and happiness (my parents wedding anniversary).
My new next door neighbour came over to have a drink with us. I We had met on a couple of occasions beforehand and she has always appeared somewhat nice... yet Saturday night, just out of the blue, she asked me straight to my face why I bothered to keep Nicola alive.
The silence was like nothing I have ever experienced before... and the tension was palpable as every single person there turned and looked at me and waited for me to respond... which was really hard considering that the only response I really wanted to form was a string of obsenities followed by a flood of tears.
Instead, as calmly as I could, I told her that I didn't feel anyone else had the right to judge what quality of life is considered acceptable and that I felt that, despite her pain and her medical needs, Nicola's quality of life was actually quite good and that she was generally happy in the life that we provide for her.
To tell me that her dogs are like her children now that her own children are grown and moved on and if it got to the point that her dogs couldn't run or play or do the things that SHE felt were important, she would have them euthanised... and she would do the same for her children.
She argued repeatedly for a good 20 minutes that a life that isn't 'normal' isn't worth living and we should not persist in our desire to keep her alive when her quality of life is not acceptable.
I don't understand this argument... I never have been able to. I struggle to find any reason, logical or emotional, that would give any person the right to take the life of another. I am not God... that choice is not mine to make... I am just a mother.
She is my child... she is my flesh and blood... and I will fight for her life with my last dying breath.
What kind of mother would I be if I turned my back on her just because she doesn't conform to what a bunch of mindless morons incapable of an iota of free and independant thought have deemed to be considered 'normal'?
What my neighbour said hurt. It really hurt... And I know that what she said, even though she probably didn't think there was anything wrong with it, hurt not only me, but my family and friends, all of whom love Nicola deeply. It hurt to think that anyone could possibly look at my daughter, see her smile, see her laugh, see her interact with her sisters and her family, and tell me that her life is worthless. It hurts that anyone could think that any child, regardless of their abilities or needs, is considered less important than any other child, or worse, that they are considered replacable.
Of course, she single handed pretty much ended the party... after that there wasn't much more to be done... I think everyone was a bit stunned. I walked inside and sat in Nicola's room, just watching her sleep.
Now... in the light of a new day, a good day, I know that it doesn't matter what she thinks. Her words may hurt, but I can chose to ignore them, which is what I am going to do from now on. I am not that desperate for a couple of free haleconia's that I would tolerate that kind of ignorance... instead I will chose to continue as I have been doing... to focus my time and energy on giving my children the best possible life I can give them... each and every one of them.