Yesterday NPR published an article about a father who designed a headstone for his son who had Cerebral Palsy. The headstone depicts a boy leaping from his wheelchair as if he is free. The headstone is a beautiful tribute to his son’s life.
Some say that the tribute is ableist. The idea that disabled people need to be cured has bothered me for years. Growing up, it was hard to accept that I was disabled. I’ve become more comfortable with my disability as I’ve gotten older, and I love my life.
The boy is now free from his wheelchair and is presumably walking and no longer has Cerebral Palsy. Disabled people can still live full lives. Life can still be lived in a wheelchair. There are times when having Cerebral Palsy is a challenge. It can be frustrating trying to fit into a world that wasn’t meant for people like you.
Many times, ableism has made me question my worth as a human being. This is especially true when it comes to being unemployed. I’ve been looking for work since 2019. I haven’t found a job yet. I often wonder if I’ll ever find a full-time job. Typically, employers don’t want to hire me when they find out I am disabled.
My life, however, is not a tragedy. I’ve been blessed to have a loving family, good friends, and many other caring people in my life. I don’t know where I’d be without my community’s support. My childhood was filled with love and laughter. My family has always loved me. I have good friends as well.
I have lived a good life with Cerebral Palsy. Growing up, I was very happy despite my disability. I loved reading books with my parents, and playing with them. I’ve also had the pleasure of being an older sister since 2004.
As I’ve grown up, I’ve learned that the physical symptoms of my disability are the easiest to deal with. I’ll never get used to feeling lonely and isolated because of my disability. Cerebral Palsy is sometimes hard to deal with, and living in an ableist world is hard, but a life with CP isn’t one to be pitied. I’ve lived a wonderful life for nearly 23 years now, and I look forward to the next chapter in my life.
Romo, Vanessa. “A Father’s Grief Inspires a Touching Headstone for His Disabled Son.” NPR, NPR, 7 July 2022, https://www.npr.org/2022/07/07/1107224862/wheelchair-sculpture-headstone-father-grief?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_term=nprnews&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&fbclid=IwAR1HBUOIQq5790KhAne9q9RyTrZl8foVrHcnguRhS9E9OgIggOX-TxXuKyQ.