Long ago a girlfriend’s relative said some nasty things about me. This relative, we’ll say her name is “Betsy”, was in her hospital bed and feeling queasy. At one point I was the only person in the room when “Betsy” asked for a bowl in case she got sick.
I knew “Betsy” despised me just based on the nasty glares she cast my way at every family dinner I attended. This glare was reinforced by her sullen silence whenever I tried to start a conversation with her. But in “Betsy’s” last hours on planet earth, I stayed by her side nonetheless, because I know what it is like being alone in a hospital bed.
Thankfully “Betsy” did not lose her lunch at that moment, and she thanked me for staying by her side. This shocked me due to the aforementioned lack of friendliness she had always exhibited towards me. She then asked me for a cup of water, which she sipped slowly. As her relatives returned, I took my leave.
When my girlfriend and I went home afterwards, she revealed to me that “Betsy” told her that I was an abomination, and that she should be dating someone else. I was stunned and more than mildly hurt by this revelation.
“But, I was the only person who stayed with her when she almost puked!” I said to my girlfriend. To myself I fumed “I’m the abomination?”
“Betsy” passed away a few days later, and I was left with a very strange and empty feeling. I could not even feel anger over what she had called me. I only felt pity for a person who had a heart so small, she was unable to recognize a good soul who was trying to help in her time of need.
Having dwarfism, I’ve lived a life full of stares and rude comments: Most of it rolls off my back like water on a duck. But sometimes, it hurts.
If there is a hell it is not in the afterlife, but rather lives in a twisted and negative mind such as “Betsy” had. Later on, it was confirmed that “Betsy” was mean and twisted most of her life, and that it was not brought on by any sort of dementia or disorder caused by age.
I’m a forgiving sort of guy, but try as I might to scrub my brain clean, certain memories get burned in forever: I can forgive, but certainly won’t forget. I want people to know: THIS is what people with disabilities face almost every day. Please stand with us and speak out when you hear such nasty nonsense.
Eventually the sting of what “Betsy” called me faded. In fact, knowing the gentle person I try to be, I even get a laugh out of it. Among the nicknames I use for myself in the privacy of my own mind mostly, I now have added “Frank, he Abominable Snow Dwarf”.
Rarrrr: Hear me roar!