Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


I went to the funeral of a seven year-old girl yesterday. She was a deeply loved child, with doting parents, siblings and a very large extended family.

I encountered her at school, as a child with complex impairments enrolled in a bush primary setting.

My job was to help the teachers manage her support so that she was included as much as possible in the daily life and activities in her class.

I didn’t have much to do – the class teachers and the teacher aides involved were amazing. The kids used to compete to sit next to her and to push her wheelchair. She enjoyed everything that she was involved in, and won “student of the week” on one occasion. I’m not sure who was more proud – herself or her parents.

Her health was often poor, and she succumbed last week to bronchial complications.

When a child dies, some struggle to find meaning.

In the case of this little girl, it isn’t difficult.  

The love demonstrated by her parents, her siblings and extended family, and teachers, aides and other children provided meaning for her short life.

This daily effort of love so strongly enhanced the quality of her life.

She lived like a butterfly, brief and brilliant.

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