“There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than reality”
As a parent to a son with additional needs, I always need to think ahead to make sure plans and places are suitably organised. Parking, wheelchair access, refreshments, conveniences etc. the list goes on endlessly. Over the years, much of this we now do automatically and think nothing of it so we can spend time talking through the events with our son in the hope he will accept, and not reject, or react badly to the day out. His mind remains full of fears as he sees ‘home’ as his safe area, somewhere he can relax in comfort and not be harmed. Outside remains a scary place that he would rather not be.
Recently we were watching the news unfold about a suicide bomber, and vehicle and knife rampage, and in truth, our sons fears of going outdoors, hit us as well. It is an added complication in that, the theatre which had been targeted by the bomber, is one that we have been to on more than one occasion, and knowing the difficulty we had getting our son in, and out made us realise that if we were caught up in that evacuation, how would we get on. And, get out!
Likewise, the bridges where vehicles were being driven into people, are bridges we have been on, and again, getting a wheelchair out of the way is not as easy as just jumping clear.
‘We suffer more often from apprehension than reality’ is very true, and the line of balance between safety, and experiences is moving. As a parent I argue great caution, but that may mean less exposure to experiences of life for our son. We need to encourage our son to go out and not reveal our own apprehensions as we plan more carefully, examine escape routes more closely, watch latest news bulletins and safety advice etc.
Perhaps we are being over cautious, I don’t know. People will tell you to just get on with your life and don’t be put off. For oneself, this may be sound advice, when you have the guardianship of another, and one who understands nothing of this so your making decisions on his behalf, that sentiment of ‘just get on with it’ doesn’t sit too easy with me.