I finished this book today. It was the first of the memoirs I found about families touched by spina bifida. Diane was born in the 1940’s before they had any options to help babies born with the condition. Her family was told to “take her home to die.” Not only did she not die, she learned to live with the disability in such a way that she would now be considered high-functioning except for lingering difficulties with urination.
In spite of the bleak prognosis, or perhaps because of it, she was able to live a life more fully than most individuals who live with mobility disabilities. She built a career to be proud of, then she received the diagnosis of breast cancer. It made her accept her body and its limitations in a way she had never done before. She didn’t tell people about her disability, because she had internalized it as a source of shame that needed to be hidden. Breast cancer was just the opposite. There were walks and people who would rally around you if you had cancer. Not so spina bifida.
So she began to realize that she needed to tell her story more freely. She understood finally that she had nothing to be ashamed of and made her peace with something that was part of her, just as much as her hair color or “this need to dance.”
Diane Glass is someone I wish I could meet. It’s rare to find a memoir that comes from someone who’s further down the road of living some of your experiences. and I welcomed it. I need to find out more about her spiritual direction work as well. I appreciated the dance images throughout the book, and I found myself jealous because I’ve never been able to dance at all!