Picture From A Not Dead Yet Movement - To That Which We Do Not Have / 30 July 2014
I hadn't planned to put this picture up as a part of the series but something nagged away at me and I couldn't think what it was. Then I saw him and something else nagged at me. I couldn't remember his name. I slept badly last night. How could I not remember his name. There are people in these photos whose name I don't know and it worries me not a jot but something bugged me out here.
I woke up. I've got it. He shares my name. He died. We went to his funeral to see off a DAN warrior. DAN for unitiatives stands for the Disabled People's Direct Action Network. Warrior, Wheelchair Warrior. Common parlance back in the day. We took to the streets, built the barricades, forced through revolution and helped bring down a government. All in the name of rights. Civil Rights. The Right to Live. Accessible Transport, Free Our People. Independent Living.
Richard was a warrior. One of the very best. Well loved. The room in the crem was packed. His eulogy mentioned something of the warrior he was but he was more than this. Other things were discussed. Later at his reception held the Bald Faced Stag, Finchley, we circled the pool table he played at, appreciated his social life, his leagues, his talents, his interests.
Richard was in and out of hospital. His illnesses where serious. Caused a lot of pain and grief. It would always last a moment and more before he would be back out, getting fit to return to the street. One day it got him. But as far as I know he never asked for it, wanted it. The fight for life was always bigger. The way he lived always mean't more. The lessons he left for others to learn, the improvements we bought about together, as a movement, for others - that's what counted.
And now he's gone, barely remembered by me, surely forgotten by others. He's a symbol of that which we do not have. Austerity bought about many changes. It bought about an attack on disabled people. We have lost many more during this time. Remember we told the governemetn they had blood on their hands. Well, they are up to their armpits now and the head is yelling for more. Each one gone, each one to leave us.To that which we do not have.