Edited from the Preface of Richard's Book 'Reflections of a Chair Man' Richard P. Eason.
Between 1983 and 1988 I suffered all sorts of traumas. As a way of release I started to write simple poems based on my experiences and my peculiar sense of humour helped me too, the highs and lows are reflected in the poems. Having accumulated quite a collection over a period of time the thought occurred to me how comforting it would have been had I been able to read something like this in some of my darker moments. To know someone else had been through similar circumstances and survived to live in a more acceptable situation. So I decided to put a book together in the hope that if it got published it might help others treading the same rocky path. Also to try to give the able bodied a small insight into our world and with luck promote better understanding, to laugh and cry with us as fellow human beings.
Selections of Richard's 'Reflections' have been extracted from his book and will be featured in SCAN's future newsletters. Richard died in 2014, and his son shared his father’s book with Headway who provided a link to the book from their website https://www.headway.org.uk/. Electronic versions of Richard’s book can be viewed on the Headway website.
After five years I've come to the following conclusion - people like myself in similar circumstances can have satisfying and full lives and have fun, using the following philosophy: make the most of what's available, physically and materially. Don't lament what's been lost, that’s history, be brave and honest with yourself.
Never accept things as they are, devote all your resources towards improvement, and having a laugh! Not necessarily in that order. If you can laugh at yourself and encourage others to join in and retain your dignity, I reckon you’ve cracked it.
We all suffer in many ways, but the thing we've got to remember is we're not alone. We all share the same cause, to have as normal a life as possible, rejoice in each victorious step towards that end, no matter how small it is, whether it’s being able to cope with going to the loo independently or tying one's shoelace with one hand.
I find that people round me almost get as much pleasure out of these accomplishments as I, knowing what it took to achieve them. Invariably it leads to comments like "I couldn't cope with that if that were me."
It makes able bodied people think about their own lives and how much effort they are putting into their own fulfilment. Suddenly things look different! We, the disabled, are setting the examples, being the leaders instead of the led, the pushers instead of the pushed. Surely that's enough to give us reason to smile!!
Richard Eason - The 'Chair Man'