I stumbled upon a draft of a blog that I wrote soon after speaking out about my mother’s potential displacement from the hospital she called home. I took a deep breath and read it, reminded of that period when things felt so up in the air, though the piece itself was about our relief that the situation might shift. I can hardly believe how much has changed since then, and it has been less than a year.
I always felt honoured to be an advocate for my mom. I loved her. This love made me fiercely protective, eager to leap into action should she need help. I was routinely struck by how important it was for my mom to have people willing to speak on her behalf, and how easy it would be for her needs to fall through the cracks should we not. My mom was good at articulating her concerns, so I would first listen to her list and then excuse myself to share it with whoever was the most appropriate person.
My mom had a remarkable way of being gentle, yet firm and very careful with her words. This, along with the way she lived her life everyday, gave her clout. I know this because it was the first thing people would say when I would enter a meeting on her behalf. She taught me a lot about speaking truth to power. There is a huge hole left in my life that is shaped like my mom. Her absence is obvious, though I am fuelled by her memory to continue working against oppression and injustice.
Advocacy is difficult work. It involves having hard conversations, oftentimes over and over again. There are rarely easy answers. With my mom’s circumstances it sometimes felt like there might be no way through, but giving up was not an option. I feel the same about many of the things Dale community members go through on a daily basis. While challenging, advocacy is so deeply good. I still believe that truth can impact injustice, however messy it might be. My mom reminds me of this.
“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream”. Amos 5:24