Im not sure why I thought that this would get easier…
The truth is that I feel that every day I am losing more of my ability to cope, and my executive functioning is becoming more and more compromised.
I vacillate from sheer disbelief that my amazing husband, who was so full of life, is dead and not coming back, to not quite believing it. Then it hits me at random and often inopportune times, and I cannot hold back my despair and fears.
There is still so much to do: with our personal affairs, the bureaucratic hoops I must jump through, the long list of things that I need to remember to take care of, all of this on top of answering his medical and legal practice emails and phone messages, and trying to wrap up the practices in an ethical and thoughtful way, making sure that his patients, clients, and colleagues get what they need.
I realize that I am probably not expected to work so hard at dealing with his practices, but I am ethical and I care about his patients, clients, and colleagues, and am especially concerned that I do what I can to ease the disruption in the care/cases so that everyone is better served. David would be appreciative that I am prioritizing his practices. I want people to remember him with respect, awe, and gratitude. He was a brilliant and compassionate clinician and attorney, and I want to make sure that his patients and clients, as well as colleagues, are taken care of. It’s what David would want.
I am going to do my best to carry on his ADA work, both here and in California. He worked so hard to advocate for people with disabilities, helping them to understand their legal rights, and also called out barriers wherever he found them. I will continue to try to enforce the ADA and get barriers removed, increasing access for those with disabilities.
After all, this is an issue that we should all care about, as everyone is only temporarily able-bodied. No one would tolerate a sign in a business or public area that read, “The Disabled are NOT welcome here,” yet every business or public area that has barrier after barrier that those with disabilities are forced to confront every day are saying just that, “You Are Not Welcome Here,” despite the ADA being passed well over a quarter century ago.
The unfortunate caveat or compromise for the business lobby saw the legislation weakened by forcing those confronted with the humiliation of the barriers they encounter to use litigation in order to be able to assert their rights. How unfair is this?! It is ridiculous. To begin with, David was a rare soul, who possessed the unique skill sets and fearless personality to be able to take on enforcement of ADA regulations. But many in the disability community are forced to restrict their lives when confronted with barriers, because just trying to function every day with a disability, especially in a world created for the able bodied, is daunting. Few have the resources and knowledge needed to take on a resistant system and force adherence.
The Disability Community seems to be the last class of people who have laws to protect them, but those laws are blatantly violated because in order to enforce them it requires the person who is being discriminated against to sue to have their rights respected. I find this one of the most humiliating and tragic flaws of current ADA legislation. Those who violate our civil and human rights are allowed to do it openly until “caught” and forced to fix the problems. Enforcing one’s rights is time-consuming, expensive, and daunting. So most everyone gets away with discrimination because they refuse to remove the barriers on their own, out of a sense of ethical and moral duty.
I cannot think of any other protected class that is forced to do this. We need to change legislation (Minnesota lawmakers in particular have really emasculated the ADA) and demand a better system of accountability from businesses. Those who are interested in this work should contact me.
David B. Ketroser, an M.D., J.D., who was finishing an M.A. in Bioethics at the time of his unexpected death, wanted to change the world, to leave it a better place for his having been here.
He accomplished that in many areas: Medical Malpractice Law, qui tam Law, the diagnosis and treatment of Facet Joint injuries which enabled him to bring relief to many suffering from neck and back pain, Personal Injury Law, and his final mission, to advocate for the rights of the disability community and get barriers removed that discriminate against nearly 20% of the population.
Having an impact on just one of the things on that list made this world a better place.
For him to have worked on them all is a testament to his astonishing life and legacy.
When I met David one of the things that I was struck by was his strong sense of right and wrong, the ethical and unethical, the fair and the unjust. I was instantly full of admiration for him and the unrelenting drive he had to make the world a better place. He certainly did that and more. I am honored to try to carry on his work and keep his legacy alive. Though my level of disability is different than his, yet caused by the same disease, I think that I can still advocate for all levels of disabilities as well as speak to the humiliating and downright shameful barriers that are everywhere one looks.
Writing this post has reminded me of the reason I have to find the strength to move forward, the strength of my convictions, and my desire to honor my late husband and his work.
In the words of the late, great Senator Paul Wellstone, “we all do better when we all do better.” David understood that, and he became the change he wanted to see.
I will forever love, admire, and respect him for that and for all he taught me in our relatively short time together.
Godspeed, my beloved.
May you rest in peace, knowing that your work will be carried on, and that your influence will never be forgotten.