Today’s Throwback Thursday post is a story written in 2002 by Sandra Shields. It shares the touching story of Norma Beckman, and why she joined PLAN with her sons Craig and Robert. While Norma has since passed away, her sons continue to live good lives thanks to members of their personal support network.
Thanks to Norma’s vision and planning, Craig and Robert are surrounded by friends and relationships who keep them safe, secure and included in the community.
Norma Beckman’s Story
“My life on earth is short now,” Norma Beckman states in her characteristic matter-of-fact manner. For 50 years she has been a devoted mother to her two sons, Craig and Robert. The three of them have a warm relationship based on affection and enduring respect. “We just love each other,” she says.
It was after her husband’s death that the family became involved with PLAN. In thinking about the future, she comments on how glad she is that her sons have one another. It’s a fact that increases her comfort level about how they will live once she is gone. “I really feel fortunate that the boys are so compatible. They’ve always been best friends. They are secure in one another. They enjoy each other. It’s really a blessing for me and for them.”
Decades of active involvement in Vancouver’s disability community have given Norma a profound appreciation of the twists and turns life can take. “It’s been part of my life for so many years. I’ve learned to be tolerant and to be aware of people and give everybody a square deal,” she says. She has seen the society around her grow in its degree of tolerance towards people with disabilities, and she hopes it will only continue to grow, providing her sons with a wider and ever more welcoming world.
“I want their lives to be perfect,” she says, voicing a dream that she knows is out of reach. With a mischievous smile, she adds, “I want another mother just like me.” She pauses and the smile disappears. “But you know, no one person can be a mother to them like I am. We’ve got the network in place for the future. The network has people who will communicate with the boys and make sure they’re okay when I’m no longer here.”
With a mother’s practicality, she states, “They enjoy their lives. That’s what I want for them: that they enjoy their lives.”