Saturday, February 12, 2011

For crying out loud

When Daniel's mummy and daddy came to take him home for Christmas, he cried. He was born with a brain abnormality known as lissencephaly which has left him at the age of six still unable to speak. What precisely he is trying to communicate about anything is always therefore partly a matter of guesswork.

So what was he crying for?

We feel sure it wasn't simply because he wanted to stay, or not to go. His cry seemed to be as much of bewilderment as of protest. The tears I saw were shed out of helplessness in a world out of control - the human condition.

Daniel is not able to utter a single word. He cannot express himself verbally. He cannot speak. Many of us can - but don't - mainly because it is too difficult or painful. But somehow Daniel's lack of articulacy is the clearest articulation of his distress.

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