Empathy and Understanding
My 47-year-old sister, Laura, has several intellectual and physical disabilities, including Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, and is legally blind. When our father died suddenly, Laura’s care and guardianship fell in my hands. Although I had anticipated this moment my whole life, my husband and I were not prepared when it became our new reality, and we soon asked, “What will we do for her? HOW CAN WE DO THIS?
Though Laura received Medicaid, Dad always thought he could manage her care on his own. If she wanted to do anything outside our home, then we would need to take care of it ourselves. Day habilitation, therapy, respite, transportation… I was overwhelmed with trying to LEARN the system. Given Laura’s age, sitting on a decades-long waiting list for help was impractical, but what could we do? Enrolling her in a local program one day a week, the Director told us there were options, but the system was difficult to navigate and we needed to speak with Clay Boatright. I was grateful for the tip but had no idea how life changing that info would become.
Exhausted from our recent life change and not ready to battle the system, I emailed Clay a month later. I spoke to him that evening, unleashing a litany of fears and troubles. Clay calmly listened and validated all that I expressed. He assured me we weren’t alone. He said we would be OK. We discussed potential options, which gave us hope. Following Clay’s advice on how to manage the support system, we immediately started receiving phone calls and emails from organizations offering to help. In less than one week we were notified that Laura would soon receive the support she needed, and we were speechless!! Clay’s coaching helped us cut through the red tape and see that all of us were truly going to be OK.
A year after losing our father, Laura is thriving in our home. Her health has improved, she receives specialized therapies and participates in a wide variety of activities she loves. In addition, my husband and I have learned to balance it all and maintain a happy marriage. So much of this new life is only possible because of the assistance Clay gave us when we were down and out and needed a guide through the dark times. There will never be enough ways to thank him for his hard work and determination. We are OK…we are not alone…Clay was RIGHT!
– Debbie M.