Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Daniel Miller - A man who triumphs

Jennifer at Pinwheels has a link to a Vanity Fair article (I have linked it int he title of this post) that discusses Arthur Miller and his refusal to acknowledge his son Daniel, born with DS. It reminded me that I had read a bit about this earlier in the year. It is a story that haunts me. It is so tragic. Art, schmart - it still makes me think less of Arhtur Miller.

Because I am technologically incomepetent (and can't work out how to link to the Feb post) I have just cut and paste it here:

Feb 07:

While I was at the eye doctor getting Hannah's vision checked, I met a mum, grandma and little boy called B. B is the same age as Hannah - only he is not sitting or crawling as he has cerebral palsy. He had the same hair colour as Hannah so naturally he caught my eye. He also had a lovely face. We were just passing the time chatting. B has a big brother J who is 7. J looks like a big version of his little brother - his Mum showed me her wallet photo of both boys - J had a big gorgeous grin, red hair and freckles. He is in a wheelchair, doesn't communicate verbally and is fed via his stomach. He too has CP.

I can't imagine what it must be like for that family. In many ways I am sure their life is pretty much like mine, in other ways it must be very different. As I drove home my mind was racing. I can't say that I felt sad exactly - emotional yes - there were tears in my eyes. Mostly though I was thinking about that woman's optimism. I recognised it of course because I share it too. Then I thought about fate - that great wild beast beyond our control. That woman's optimism was palpable. Her photoes of her sons showed each boys uniqueness and her pride in them. Sometimes choices are not better than fate. There is of course no prenatal testing for CP. They told me that. The mother also said that she knew her chances of having a child and then another child with CP were higher than average. I guess that is what made the word 'optimism' come so strongly to mind.

I have been thinking about Arthur Miller and his son Danny - the one he never mentioned in his biography, who was institutionalised (he would only be a few years older than me now) and who was visited regularly by his mother but never by his father - according to the excerpts I read online. I am in no place to judge A Miller - that isn't what this is about. On my drive home yesterday I kept thinking about him and then B and Js Mum. Miller lost on his choice and perhaps he died not knowing that but I can't help but think that those who have and still care for and love Danny Miller know it. Maybe optimism is what Arthur Miller needed more of.

Edited to add:
And what of Danny's mother - apparently she visited her son regularly - yet he did not attend her funeral. What hidden charms must that man have had to get her to leave her child so?? Unimaginable. Unbelievable. I hope Danny has a good life now - he certainly deserves it.

1 comment:

jotcr2 said...

That is very interesting. I actually know a similar story. An older couple I know - 80 actually, had a DS baby, and was institutionalised, and passed away at the age of 4 from heart issues. The dad wouldn't visit the inst, and he wouldn't let the mum cry from her grief. Anyway, now they know Sheena and they are awfully good to her. I think it is definitely a generational thing - and I would hate to judge them on it too.