The Deep End – Dive in!
Ruth Fitzmaurice was 32 years old when her husband
Simon was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in
2008. He was given four years to live; two years later his
lung function collapsed and he chose to be mechanically
ventilated. He communicates using an ‘eye gaze’
computer, and their home is a whirlwind of 24-hour
nursing care—as well as buckets of joy and love. The
family of five has grown to seven since the diagnosis,
Simon directed his first feature film, and Ruth has found
solace in a daily sea swim with friends near their County
Wicklow home while also writing a book, I Found My
Tribe, about her experiences.
It is more than some individuals or families have to cope
with in a lifetime, but the story Ruth tells is not a sad one.
She and her family have taken a challenging situation and
turned it into a positive story of love, friendship and hope.
Ruth and Simon came to mind when I read the gospel
story for today. We are all dealt different cards in life,
and some are tougher than others. We are like the
servants in the parable who are given different amounts of
money to look after. What’s important is not the life we
are given , but what we do with it. Jesus was cautioning
against playing it safe. The Fitzmaurice family are doing
a lot more than just ‘getting on with it’. Instead of turning
inwards or living in fear, they meet their challenges head
on. ‘Dive in’ is Ruth’s message, no matter what life
throws your way.