I went to a GAD meeting yesterday afternoon. GAD is an organisation of local disabled people, based in Greenwich. The meeting, however, was in Woolwich: some people want to do a podcast made up of people with disabilities talking about their experiences, what they had to go through to achieve their independence and so on. It was quite a fascinating meeting, and I felt grateful to have been invited. I’ll flag up the finished podcast here when I can. I do, however, want to relay a story I heard yesterday: it was told by an older fellow with body deformities, and really stuck with me. He told us that a few weeks after he was born, his mother despaired at having a disabled son so much that she wanted to smother him. She believed his life would be so difficult as a disabled person that she couldn’t put him through it. When she was just about to do so though, he laughed. His laugh was apparently so lovely that she suddenly found that she couldn’t go through with it, and thus his laugh saved his life.
I find this story quite moving, not just because of what it tells us of good luck, but because of what that poor mum must have had to go through. It says something about the kind of assumptions people make about the difficulty of lives like mine. It makes you wonder, too, how many other disabled babies weren’t so fortunate.