Being Bettina’s Dad – Being a Carer – A blog written by our Managing Director, Steve Raw.
This is Bettina. Bettina copes with autism and a learning disability.
Bettina is our pride and joy.
Dozing on the settee after a hard day’s work my pager started to beep. I woke up and phoned my transport department. They had the call that Joyce was going into labour, and they were sending a vehicle round to our flat to rush me to Berlin Military Hospital (BMH). We were 10 months into a two-year tour of occupied Berlin, and it was still a couple of years before the ‘Wall’ was to come down.
Within a couple of hours our beautiful daughter Bettina had come into our lives. It would be another 18 months before she was diagnosed with severe autism and a learning disability, but that didn’t matter to us (and still doesn’t) she is our beautiful daughter and love is enough. Being Bettina’s Dad: When love is not enough to keep you Safe and Secure – Leadership in the Raw
As I write this article, I have just received an invite from MacIntyre Families @MacFamilies https://www.macintyrecharity.org/ to be interviewed for a podcast. MacIntyre Families work with “all families ,siblings and circles of support to ensure voices are being heard, understood & importantly working together.”
So immediately I started thinking of the answers to potential questions and writing an article I could share which may help other carers and people who have an interest in supporting people.
Joyce and I are super organised and from the moment we got together we started planning. Having two daughters was always the plan, although I must admit that being a parent carer was not in the action plan.
“Most things don’t work out as expected but what happens instead often turns out to be the good stuff” Dame Judi Dench
On reflection, and 35 years of supporting Bettina, Dame Judi was quite right that it does indeed ‘turns out to be the good stuff’. ‘B’ as she is often referred to by her family, has enriched our lives and has taught us on what is important and what really is unimportant.
How has she done this?
Part 1. “Everybody has plans until they get hit for the first time”. Mike Tyson
1992 was not our family’s best year. Both my mum and father-in law passed away within weeks of each other; I had a severe bout of flu at the beginning of the year, and Bettina was permanently excluded from school halfway through her first term!
Part 2. “Make up your mind that no matter what comes your way, no matter how difficult, no matter how unfair, you will do more than simply survive. You will thrive in spite of it.” —Joel Osteen
We thrived in spite of it:
Part 3 – “I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” Audrey Hepburn
Five fun things we get from being a carer for Bettina:
A quote for Bettina’s family and all carers:
“When written in Chinese the word “crisis” is composed of two characters – one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”
Thank you, Bettina, for giving us a lifetime of opportunities.
Bettina with her big sister, Jennifer, and her dad.
Woolacombe Beach 2022
Picture courtesy of Joyce Raw (‘B’s tiger mum)
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