A person with feelings

I was reading Kara’s blog today and her post really got me thinking. It’s about a father who killed his 12 year old daughter with severe CP:

A Canadian man was released today on parole after serving ten years of a life sentence for killing his twelve year old daughter by asphyxiation because she had severe cerebral palsy. The jury had deemed the killing a mercy killing and the man felt no remorse for causing the end of his daughter’s suffering through death.

It made me so sad and upset. And made me remember a lesson I had very early into our journey with Nathan.

When he was just 2 months old, I was really struggling to accept his prognosis, diagnosis, and quality of life. He would cry all the time from the hydrocephalus and I was barely hanging in. I took him to a meditation retreat where the focus was on healing. Part of me was hoping for a miracle. As usual, a miracle happened, but not the way I expected.

Nathan didn’t miraculously get better or stop crying. But right when we got home is when he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus and when he had his shunt surgery.

The real miracle was my conversation with one of my teachers. I was telling him about Nathan, and he said to me, Marcela, the most important thing to remember is that, above and beyond everything else, your son is a person with feelings.

A person with feelings. It sound so simple. But it is so profound.

That girl with CP who was murdered by her dad. She was a person with feelings. She could feel the dad’s anguish and intention. I am a big believer that people have the ability to perceive the feelings of others. Even the most disabled person can feel when they are loved, and when they are hated. In fact I think disabled children have even more developed perceptions as these are areas of the brain that are free to develop so the brain can take on extra cortex for the processing of emotions.

My Stroke of Insight
was a book that really helped me to understand this. When the brain doesn’t function normally, it can really affect how you process feelings and view the world. So it is clear to me that kids with CP have a different way of perceiving emotions because they are so often the sweetest, most loving human beings. Truly special.

Seeing Nathan as a person with feelings first and foremost really helped me to change my view of him and our relationship. But I am preaching to the choir. I think we have all learned this lesson. Now if we could help the rest of the world understand this.


  1. Thank you for sharing this. It makes me sad all over again. But hopeful too. For people like you. Helping the world understand kiddos like ours.

  2. This is very sad. I’m not sure if I just watch TV more or if there really is an increase of parents abusing/killing their kiddos. What makes these situations even more heartbreaking is that in the majority of the cases the parent only spends a few years in prison/jail. IF an adult harms another adult, the person gets the death penality of life in prison. Do you see a problem with this? I do. A society we REALLY need to protect our children better. Not turn the other cheek when/if abuse is suspected.

    I took believe that special needs kiddos of all degrees of their disability has feelings, can display their feelings in some way and understand what is going on in the world around them.

  3. Amen.

  4. all children have feelings, I knew that from the first moment. I had to protect my child mainly in front of the doctors and their approach.
    Maybe child cannot talk but if someone looks what the child is saying…. he knows everything.

    I fully agree with Donna.

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