Between Friends - Walking Out of Your Past

By Doreen Barber


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“...it comes down to you, you have to make a choice to walk out of your past and nobody can do it with you. You might be in a mess together, but you walk out of it alone. That is your challenge; that is your chore.” -Dr. Phil McGraw

At 19 months old, Helen Keller was a happy, healthy child who already spoke a few words. After she suffered an illness accompanied by high fever, however, she became deaf and blind for life.

Feeling lost, Helen would hang on to her mother's skirt to get around. Although a very bright child, she became extremely frustrated by her inability to communicate and began to throw temper tantrums.

Her mother, inspired by an account in Charles Dickens’ American Notes* of the successful education of another deaf and blind child, sought professional advice from the Perkins Institute For The Blind. Through the Institute, Helen's mother met Anne Sullivan, also visually impaired, who became Keller’s instructor. It was the beginning of a 49-year relationship.

“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.” -Maya Angelou

With Anne Sullivan’s help, Helen became an author, political activist, lecturer and was the first deaf and blind person to earn a bachelor’s degree.

While in college, she wrote her autobiography, The Story of My Life and over the years authored 11 more books.

Travelling around the world speaking to groups, she became famous and had many opportunities to meet well-known and influential people.

Her determination and the many people who helped her, most importantly Anne Sullivan, contributed to her success.

“I can see, and that is why I can be happy in what you call the dark, but which to me is golden. I can see a God-made world, not a man-made world.” -Helen Keller

 

AUGUST 2010 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

 

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