This (below linked) commentary by a man who has struggled all his life to live within a family story that never synced with his own personal belief system really resonated with me.

I don’t identify with him because I had to struggle in the same way – I identify with him because I can only imagine how sad and difficult, almost torturous his interactions with his family must have often been.

I’m one of what I’d consider the lucky ones. I was born into a family whose story is rich with tales of farming, hunting, trapping, and fishing.  It’s also a story of contrast, filled with the highly educated and the undereducated – where children left school after 4th or 5th grade to begin working full time on family farms to help feed their over crowded households, then had children of their own  who grew up to be artists,  PhD’s, RN’s and JD’s, to teach school, to own companies. Unlike the writer for Public Record, I had a broad, diverse familial perspective from which to draw my personal conclusions about the way I see the world.

I am all too aware that others come from more rigid stories.

I found the man who related this story to be first frustrated, then saddened, and ultimately disillusioned by his family and the story they insisted on believing – what he viewed as a people blocked by a set of conceptual beliefs causing them to be harsh, judgmental, not empathic.

Another friend who read this, a man who is very conservative, a pull yourself up by the bootstraps kinda guy, thought the writer was bitter.

Please, do yourself a favor, and take the time to read this commentary.  It’s beautifully written, if nothing else.  I’d love to hear your story, and how you relate to the author.



The name Claire means ‘light’ or ‘bright’.

There is a sweet french 1800’s folk song I sang to my girls when they were round faced, fat little pink baby girls. It’s called Au Clair de la Lune, which means light of the moon. My mother taught it to me when I was a girl, singing it to me in the evenings, sitting on the side of my ‘youth bed’ in her lovely lilting french voice.

So I named my eldest daughter Claire; my bright light.

Claire, at 21 years, is a sight to behold. She is in a wheelchair. She is powerful.

With long, dark hair and wide, knowing eyes the color of Elizabeth Taylor’s, Claire enters a room with the grace of an earth angel. Some likely notice the wheels first. Perhaps others barley notice them at all.

She is translucent, miraculous, a siren.

No matter that her legs are like rubber now, and nearly immovable at the ankles. No matter that she struggles mightily to adjust to a step-happy walking world.

It’s barely noticeable, her brave, quiet struggle. She is energy and light, edges glowing like an angel-shaped cloud; like the moon.

When Claire got sick at aged 10, she was an aspiring ‘cheerleader’,  a gymnast, her little sister’s ‘choreographer’, a cart-wheeling ferris wheel on the verge of flying at any moment.  She was unstoppable.  I called her my ‘whirling dervish’.

She was dancing with her little friends at a Halloween party. She was giggling. She was tired. She fell. Her legs never worked again. In a mere moment, her legs gave up, overcome by a prank her own autoimmune system would play on her. And that was it.  No more walking, dancing, running, cartwheeling, back-bending, twirling, tree climbing.

Later, at the hospital, after several days and tests and tears, they explained. She had transverse myelitis. It’s unkind. It’s sudden. So rare. Irreversible.

We could have stayed blocked, since in the beginning, the shock acted as an immense, mountainous one  – a block that could keep us from looking over and ahead to the possibilities, a block that might keep us stuck in the ‘what do we do now with all of our dreams?’ mode.

But after that initial shock (and make no mistake, it was stunning) we chose differently. We chose to stay open.  We climbed and stumbled over the blocks, at first, it’s true. Sometimes we fell flat on our faces. And sometimes we wiped out so badly that the sheer scope of the changes ahead seemed insurmountable.

We were scared. We were novice. And we were determined not to stop laughing.

So, eventually, we looked up and found ourselves steadfastly on the other side.

On the side of the possibilities.

Claire is not a child anymore.  She’s a senior at a major university with an attainable dream of having her PhD in psychology.  She has a beautiful, mature relationship with a handsome young man who is traveling Europe as I write this.  She drives a little red car that suits her fiery personality. She has friends, by the bushel, who gladly carry her and her chair when the world makes it too difficult for her to get from point A to B. 

And, perhaps most profoundly, she has a spitfire of a little sister who is her steadfast guardian angel. All because she and the people around her who love her refused to let what could have been seen as blocks, as obstacles, as deterrents,  take precedence over an abundance of precious possibilities.

So we, instead of ‘disabled, we call her ‘possibled’.

She is whole, she is light – and she is Claire.

Blog-I must

Okay. I know I said once a week. But I’d hate to forget to share this with you – An excellent way to combat writer’s block. Enjoy, maybe even catologue this one.  I know I will.


My blog will be once a week musings and shared insights about overcoming and/or climbing the blocks that we encounter as we navigate our personal journeys.

Today, I found a quick, insightful thought twittered by Susan Orlean, the renowned author of the book, made into a movie, called “The Orchid Thief”.

“The first day or two of reporting a new story is like playing Marco Polo — blindfolded, stumbling, grasping; stubbed toes.”

One can apply that truth to so many of the things in our lives that keep us from reaching our objectives or finding our way. But it’s comforting, at least for me, to know that we all ‘stub our toes’ as we charter the unknown.

And usually, we manage to recover from any hurt or uncertainty (translate: fear) we endure as a result of the fumbling-stumbling-searching!

Feel free to share your insights on your uncertain journey. We’re all in this together, after all.