Monday, September 1, 2008

Rich Lowry gets it

My sister made the connection to Sarah Palin and our own mother: both mothers of five, one with Down Syndrome. Faced with a choice to endorse the value of the life of the Down Syndrome child, both said yes. In my mother's case, she delivered while my father was in some far-off Pennsylvania town, performing a clerkship as a fourth-year medical student. Alone in her room, a pediatrician came in to tell her that the child she had delivered (while under general anesthesia, a common practice at the time) was mentally retarded, and really should be institutionalized, what with you being a doctor-to-be's wife. She fired him on the spot, and resolved there and then that her son, my brother, would have as normal a life as she and my father could give him. They did, and all who have known him, most especially his siblings, are better people for having had the privilege of knowing Ralph.

This is a small anecdote, written with grace by Rich Lowry, about a young man similar to my brother. It is not at all atypical of Down's folks, who have a lot to teach us "normal" types about spreading happiness to others. Trig Paxson Van Palin (Sarah Palin has stated that the "Van Palin" at the end was an homage to Van Halen), may you know the life that my brother Ralph has known and lived, touching hearts more deeply than most of us can possibly hope to.

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