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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Disabled always isolated (Letter to the National Post newspaper)

Re: Pandemic benefits and support

I am a Lyme disease patient who's been disabled due to the damage from this illness, especially because it took two years to be diagnosed.

My monthly gross earnings from CPP [Canada Pension Plan] is barely over $1,000, which is essentially half of the emergency response benefit. So many Canadians on disability struggle to make ends meet on such a limited income, and we also have to deal with chronic health issues, which often come with increased medical expenses. For the sake of space I won't touch on the mental-health aspects of living with chronic illness, which makes all of this harder.

Canadians living at home with disabilities are also isolated on a regular basis. When life gets back to normal for most people, we will be forgotten. We will still be at home, where we have always been.

Prior to the pandemic I reached out to my MP and MPP [Legislative Assembly of Ontario] about chronic illness and Lyme disease in our area and neither of them have even bothered to respond. I can't begin to describe how disheartening this is.

Aside from the further fear for our health and well-being that the coronavirus has inflicted among everyone, many people living with chronic illness have a higher risk of susceptibility to the virus.

It makes me incredibly sad to speak/write out loud that our disabled lives probably won't change. Things will go back to normal for everyone else and we will still be struggling: physically, emotionally, mentally and financially.

It is so upsetting to watch our prime minister come on TV every day and say "we hear you, we know you're scared. We are here for you and we're going to help you" and feel like he is talking to every Canadian except those of us at home, on disability, unable to work.

Having the government offer twice as much money—in the form of the emergency response benefit—to other Canadians, essentially makes me feel unimportant, undignified, unworthy and even more isolated.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Eavan Boland on Faith

“I remember driving down the Dublin roads, where the laburnum and lilac filled the verges with yellow and violet, and listening to my car radio. Something seemed to have happened that was not faith, and could not be called religion; that was short of hysteria and yet by no means rational,” wrote Eavan Boland in her January 12th, 1995 essay When the Sprit Moves. 

Boland described the summer of 1985, when a statue of the Virgin Mary appeared to move, and how an outpouring of belief challenged her preconceived notions of intellect. 
Eavan Boland died this week at age 75, a great loss to the world of poetry and letters. We’ll be sharing her essay throughout the month of May and we hope you will too.