Monday, 25 August 2014
PS (to Richard Dawkins)
I'm sorry to trouble you again, Richard, but I thought you might like this. I happened upon it again this morning, and I thought of you. It's a photo of a happy family wedding, just over two weeks ago; the bride and her sister, plus husbands. But who's that on the right, I hear you ask?
Well, that's the mother of the two girls. She's my sister, born very prematurely with severe disabilities. Perhaps she, too, should have been aborted, but fortunately she was not. She looks happy, doesn't she? I'm glad you agree, because she's an amazing woman. Despite all the odds, she trained as a teacher and an actress, married and had these two wonderful - and they really are wonderful - daughters. She writes poems, gives one-woman shows, and although now widowed and living alone, and in constant pain, she coaches schoolchildren, helps out at her local primary school and keeps us all amused with her great sense of humour. (She's also a pillar of her local churh, but I suppose I oughtn't to have mentioned that.)
So you see, the disabled have so much to offer, not least their example. She may not have made any great scientific discoveries (apart from how many times it's possible to fall out of a wheechair without killing yourself), but all of us who know her are grateful to have done so. She is, quite simply, one of the most inspirational people I've ever met.
Now, you must excuse me. I have a novel to write.