In the shelter of each other


I first moved to Ireland in 1995. At that time it was a much different place than it is today. Back then, people seemed to be more connected, better realising that we are all dependent upon each other to make it through this often tumultuous journey called life. Don’t get me wrong, that sense of community is still present. All one has to do is look at the selfless efforts of the people out feeding the homeless at night or those who volunteer to answer phones taking calls from people who are desperately trying to hold on to any reason to live. But as I sit here listening to Brendan Bjorn’s movie playing in the distance while he lay in his bed and I watch the grey clouds rolling in, it strikes me how deeply, painfully, we are struggling.

We, the collective we.
And we, my little family.

For the past 17 months, behind the scenes of my often all too public details of life, I have been fighting (with the help of a solicitor and barrister, to be fair) a situation that could have very well resulted in causing Brendan Bjorn’s death. That’s all I will say on the matter for now. Anyway, a few days ago, the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders and I received word that the matter was resolved in my favour…but far more importantly, in Brendan Bjorn’s favour. And let’s not forget Declan, who upon being told the good news had tears in his eyes of sheer relief, as he carried a burdensome load of worry that no child should ever have to do!

There is a quote (attributed to the Irish, and I’m going with that since, well, I live in Ireland!) which has always resonated with my spirit, that part of me that sees the world in a holistic, connected sense. The quote is this:

It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.

Read it one more time and let it soak in just a bit more.
It’s a powerful statement, isn’t it?

My shelter the past 17 months has been the grace of friends and charities who saw fit to remember that it takes the now seemingly old-fashioned sense of an intertwined community to survive, if not even to thrive. It takes compassion, reaching out, reaching down, reaching up and giving. It takes being someone else’s shelter when they no longer have the ability to provide their own. And yes, it takes love. Good old-fashioned love of fellow human beings.

It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.

And today, while that tremendous weight has been so thankfully lifted, I still worry about my little family becoming homeless. The past 17 months of this struggle has found us at rock bottom – or what I hope to God is rock bottom – and that has left me shaken to my core. I don’t know how else to describe it. Honestly, I don’t think I have ever been under such soul-destroying pressure.

I must now try to rise back up, dust myself off and do everything within my abilities for these two beautiful boys that I am blessed to have as my sons. It may take the community to help see us rise back up, and for that I am humbled (ok, utterly humiliated) as I follow the advice to put out a call for a helping hand. I have nothing to offer in return at the moment, nothing other than my experience, knowledge, and voice to help other families on this journey with special needs children. I have nothing to offer in return at the moment but the ability to give in kind that spirit of community which adheres to the understanding it is in the shelter of each other that the people live. 



*** For those of you who have been the shelter for my little family in these past months, my undying thanks and love – Tracy

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