Friday, July 15, 2011



... mumble


... mumble

A fellow we know, friend is too strong a word, acquaintance too mild, was telling us that he is going to visit family in a couple of weeks. He's very excited. At just over 80, he knows that this may be his last big trip. So he was full of detail, trust me absolutely full of excruciating detail, about the trip. His sister is on her second marriage to a man on his second marriage, they both have children from previous marriages, her children ... I'll pause here for a timely 'blah blah blah blah'. But I barely listened until the whisper.

Whispers interest me.

Whispers are about secrets.

Whispers paradoxically call attention to themselves.

He had been talking about his sister's husband's children. The two oldest were twins. Identical twins - this was followed with stories about the capers of twins. Then the whisper, it was about the youngest son. I didn't catch what he said.

'Pardon?' I asked.

This was followed by a mumble.

Finally I understood that he was saying that the youngest son was (whisper) 'born blind'.

Oh  my goodness, a whispered child.

Then he was back on about the twins and their shenanigans, oh my gosh what do twins get up to!! The twins are married and one does this and the other does that. The whispered son was not mentioned. So I asked. Apparently he is married and working - but there was no detail and it seemed that his life was lived very much in the shadow of TWINS. Well, to be honest, NORMAL KIDS. Kids who can be discussed out loud. Kids who don't hide behind whispers.

Whispered children.

I know I was talking to a man in his early 80's but tell me, please tell me, that children born with disabilities today are welcomed out loud.


Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

Around here all children are celebrated - out loud!


Anonymous said...

Oh Dave,

everyone born into our families is welcomed.

Blind, heartbroken, with a muscular disease or even strangely intelligent...

Everyone is celebrated and loved and spoken about. Every single person is loved for he or she is part of our family.

Julia (from Germany)

GirlWithTheCane said...

Most are now welcomed out loud.

Some, sadly, are still whispered.

It's getting better, though, I think.

Someday we'll get there.

Joyfulgirl said...

Whispered children-what a terrible story.

Kevin said...

Dave: I once worked with a man in his 40's who had a developmental disability. His family would never visit him at his grouphome, instead we would drive him to his parents. Once there, we were to pull into the attached garage, shut the door and then bring him into the house. This was done so that the neighbors wouldn't see him. His parents were very affluent you see and didn't want anyone else to know of their "shame". I understand that people in the senior generation viewed people with disabilities differently, but this was disgusting.

I'm glad society has changed somewhat, however there is still much work that needs to be done.

Btw I wrote to you awhile back re. Handicapped stickers in vehicles and my refusal to get one

lillytigre said...

It's the age of the person you were speaking with. All my older neighbors do that. Like somehow if the say the word out loud it'll be contagious. A friend of mine has a little girl about Ruby's age who has autism. Daycare is a hard situation for her so on days when her parents need a sitter she hangs out with me. My neighbors of that age bracket are all very curious about her so the two us together me with my scooter and the things about her that they feel or worth noting make for quite a lot of whispering. She hasn't learned things most kids her age have learned yet & the neighbors can't believe anyone would trust ME with a child so for some reason this makes the two of us together whisper worthy. My favorite thing to do is say quietly you know I can hear you even if you whisper

Kristin said...

Dave, Any child I was lucky enough to bring home was celebrated. Honestly, after losing so many pregnancies, my prayers weren't "Dear God, let them be perfect." My prayers were "Dear God, let them be alive. I can work with anything else."

Tamara said...

I also think it's a generational thing - at least I hope it is. We sure don't whisper around here -

Anonymous said...

My mother, age 84 and proud of it, talks about the five people with disabilities she knows in the same manner as she talks about her other acquaintances and friends. My neighbor, nearly 70, talks with much genuine pride and joy about her grandchild with DS. These women grew up in the era of institutions and whispers, and they demonstrate that the issue is not a matter of age.

lillytigre said...

It could also be exposure. My Grandma had a twin sister who because of a accident as a kid grew up having what they termed as severe mental retardation. The time period I believe made her have more issues then she would have even 10 yrs later. On the other hand because my grandma were used to her and exposed to others with disabilities because of her, she was my biggest champion and supporter. She would stand up for me in front of anyone and had been know to tell others off when needed. That's not something I see from most of the older people in my area. But they do this about anything from color of skin to disability to race to people who dare to speak something other then english in their presence. I have no patience for such things and sometimes feel I'm channeling my Grandma's spirit when I speak up and believe me I speak UP :D

Casdok said...

Loud and proud :)