The first duty of love is to listen.
— Paul Tillich
Love is no assignment for cowards.
In part 1 of this piece I described the atrocities at Willowbrook State School as the cause for changes in the delivery of mental health services in the U.S. Elsewhere I have described some of the changes in state and federal law surrounding terminology used to describe disabled individuals, and a comparison between the U.S. and the delivery of mental health services in New Zealand. But these descriptions are only the macro version of the movement. There is another side to this story, a personal side.
In preparation for a forthcoming book I arranged to talk to a very unique couple. On December 15th, 2010 I got to meet two extraordinary people, Michael and Amy (not their real names). They live in a supported residential program with ancillary services. They have a wonderful love story. It is filled with the challenges of circumstance and desire. Amy is nearly 30 years older than Michael: she is 92, he is 63. But it isn’t their age differences that make their story unique.