Yesterday I had the honour, with knocking knees, to speak at a conference about how the Acute Hospitals look after people with Learning Disabilities. This is a result of taking part in a review process in the South West, following the harrowing findings of the Mencap report: Death by Indifference (among others).
I knew exactly what I wanted to say. That wasn't the problem. The tricky bit was getting the pitch right. I was speaking as a mother about my child, and on behalf of all the parents with special children that I know and do not know. The other speakers were largely in the medical profession or linked to it, and of a mindset and level of understanding. It fell to me to bring it home - a huge responsibility.
I delivered my piece with a large photo of my son behind me, his head in bandages after his last surgery. When I heard the audience chuckle, I knew I had them onside. When I met them teary-eyed afterwards, I knew I had done my job.
It is very difficult to stand up as yourself and deliver a personal message - trust me, it is much easier to act! But to see and hear the impact of your honesty is priceless. I'm glad I put myself through it.
By popular demand (seriously!) a video of the speech will be recorded to the Review website very soon. I will post the link when it's ready.
Simple fact-everything we live through is a life lesson. Sharing it helps.