An introduction to Lew Jessen Moore

Lew Jessen Moore (September 11, 1981 – February 4, 1998)

In his lifetime Lew didn’t have speech or mobility but he touched his world. He changed people. He changed hearts. He helped change some public policy. He changed me. I am Lew’s mother and I’d like to tell you some of Lew’s story.

Everything seemed perfectly typical about Lew’s prenatal and early postnatal life. My pregnancy and his delivery were unremarkable but some time in that period Lew experienced oxygen deprivation to the brain. He was incredibly beautiful. He became famous for his lavish long eyelashes. He seemed to have some difficulty nursing but it wasn’t until his fifth month that it became clear he was missing developmental milestones. Tests between his fifth and seventh month revealed that Lew had cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder and developmental delay. Later we came to know that Lew’s developmental delay was profound mental disability. He also had perception problems related to hearing and seeing.

I have since read this phrase in medical journals: “having an IQ so low as to not constitute a person.” There are some who might have applied that to Lew but they would have been wrong. Others might say that in a life such as Lew’s God’s grace could not manifest itself. They would be wrong, too. These posts will mostly be about that.

If you or anyone you know is a person who is discounted by others, this story is for you. If you are the parent, grandparent, sibling, friend of a person others see as useless, a burden, a tragedy (oh, the labels we hear!), you may find grace in Lew’s story. I know I did.

Image of Cherry Winkle Moore
Cherry Winkle Moore

Cherry Winkle Moore is a visual artist and a retired hospice chaplain. Cherry has a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting, drawing and printmaking from the University of Alabama. Later she completed a Master of Divinity degree with an emphasis in pastoral care. Cherry sometimes says that in her case the MFA stands for Minister of Fine Arts and the MDiv stands for Making Divine Images Visible.

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