Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

The Difference between Completed and Finished

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

The Difference between Completed and Finished

Article excerpt

In his 87th year, the artist Michelangelo (1475-1564) is believed to have said, "Ancora imparo"--"I am still learning." Hence, the name for my monthly observations and comments.--Rick Rader, MD, Editor-in-Chief, EP Magazine

I don't know where these internet ditties originate from, but their spread rivals that of Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Thinking it was some intense metaphysical treatise someone sent me (and it was after lunch, so I was primed for such an intellectual excursion), I actually opened it and read it. After all, the subject field said, "The Difference Between Complete and Finished."

No dictionary has been able to adequately explain the difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED. However, in a recent linguistic conference held in London, England, and attended by some of the best linguists in the world, Samsundar Balgobin, a Guyanese, was the clear winner.

His final challenge was this: "Some say there is no difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED. Please explain the difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED in a way that is easy to understand."

Here is his astute answer: "When you marry the right woman, you are COMPLETE. But, when you marry the wrong woman, you are FINISHED. And when the right one catches you with the wrong one, you are COMPLETELY FINISHED!"

His answer was received with a standing ovation lasting over five minutes, and it entitled him to receive an invitation to dine with Queen, who decided to call him after the contest. He won a trip to travel around the world in style, and a case of 25-year-old Eldorado rum for his answer.

Okay, so that is mildly amusing at the expense of being sexist. But beyond that, it did leave me in a philosophical mood pondering the thought, "What is the difference between complete and finished, especially in the context of parenting a child with special healthcare needs?"

The obvious answer is, "The exceptional parent is never finished!" Even with the tragic death of a child, we have seen motivated parents dedicate their lives to finding answers, fighting for access, promoting equality and fighting indifference. For them there is no "finished."

Many exceptional parents report that they were "complete" the moment their child was born. …

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