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01 May 2016 @ 12:47 am
Just the saddest thing  
On my fiftieth birthday my stepmum presented me with a folder containing my family history, as far back as she could trace it. I was surprised to learn I had an aunt that I'd never heard of - Betty Jean, born in 1930 with cerebral palsy and placed into a childrens' home, where she died around 1947, according to one of my surviving aunts. My stepmum had her birth certificate, but couldn't find her death certificate anywhere, so she left the actual date of death blank.

Now I know why. One of my cousins called me tonight - he'd had a call from the Public Trustee's office who were trying to trace Betty Jean's relatives, as she had died in November last year.

All that time. Imagine that - 85 years spent in institutions, never knowing you had a family out there in the real world, never having that connection with people that loved and accepted her. I'm going to see what I can find out about her, although I don't hold out much hope. And it's too much to hope that her life was a good one.
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Spencer's Journalspencer5460 on May 2nd, 2016 01:14 pm (UTC)
That is absolutely heart-breaking. I volunteer with CP kids and they are a joy. I can't imagine that years ago any one of them might have been institutionalized.
miwahni: Random Rainbow Earthmiwahni on May 3rd, 2016 11:22 am (UTC)
Oh I know, I know... one of my good friends has CP and she's a Sunday school teacher, as well as being treasurer of a state-wide organisation. I cannot imagine her being institutionalised. Having said that, her mother put her up for adoption when she was nine years old, because she couldn't cope. My friend was lucky in that she was adopted into a very loving, caring family.
Spencer's Journalspencer5460 on May 3rd, 2016 12:32 pm (UTC)
I can't imagine what I would do if I had to make that choice. I think one has to be brutally honest with one's self. Not everyone is cut out to parent a severely handicapped child. Some people aren't cut out to be parents at all. For myself, there's no way I could be a nurse or a teacher. Thank God there are people who feel that calling. I love volunteering - I just don't like to be the one running the show.