The Silent, Constant Scream
By Pat Linkhorn, from FIN FACTS
Most parents who have kids with disabilities usually seem to be fairly normal people. Others, who don't have children with disabilities, sometimes tell us what saints we must be to do all the things we do. Those of us who have been at this for several years know we're not saints. We know how long it took us to get to this place. This place where we appear to be capable and normal. Each of us deals with the disability issue in different ways. Some accept it as God's way. Others accept it as a challenge to grow. Some are angry. Some are sad. Most of us bounce back and forth between. We each cope in different ways too. Some advocate. Some scream. Some hide behind humor. Some silently accept. Some use their spouses as whipping boards. (As well as any other person who happens to be close.) It's a mixed up, jumbled up mess whenever you try to figure out what or how you are handling this. Most of us never actually figure it out. We just continue to plod along, hurdling each new obstacle as it arises. Never fully understanding exactly what it is that drives us. Perhaps it's better that we don't know. Sometimes I have moments of startling clarity. The other night while talking to a bunch of friends, someone said that it was okay to scream. Most did their best jungle scream, but I couldn't. The conversation had been about kids and Christmas. I shared with this group that Christmas was the worst for me because my youngest couldn't see all the lights. Somehow her blindness always seems worse during this season when the full impact of blindness and all it entails really tears at my heart. Suddenly I knew there is a silent, constant scream within me. I do my best to muffle its vibrations. I keep busy. I do what has to be done. I advocate. I write. I try to keep the scream buried. Sometimes I think I fear that if I do scream, I will never be able to stop. Some people may say that I still haven't totally accepted my child's disability. Maybe I haven't. Maybe I never will. Maybe the scream is my way of not accepting. Who knows? Many of you will understand what I am trying to convey here. I'm sure many adults with disabilities also have the silent scream within. It's caused by all the unfairness and frustration that always tags along with disabilities. It's the force, the adrenaline, the vibration that keeps us moving, whether it be in mind or in body. It can be channeled into constructive areas or it can lead straight to destruction. The person who feels it must make the choice--whether to scream aloud or to continue to scream silently.