Know me, know my brother ...
Does this belong here? I am not sure, but I think there are lessons for all here. We don't treat people with disabilities very well. We often don't even know them well either. True, it may be harder to get to know them sometimes, but a little patience and a genuine attempt to do so will reward both the giver and the receiver.
This memorium was written for my 10 year old daughter. It is rather lengthy for a memorium given out at a service - but I wrote it wanting people to know my daughter better. Few *truly* knew her, although they were attending her funeral. This memorium says much about how little we know of persons with disabilities, and how much like us they really are.
Sweet Sue, Beautiful Sue. Those were two of many nicknames for her. I wanted her to be proud so I would tell her how beautiful she was. I would always start with her eyes, her beautiful big dark brown eyes. She had a perfect nose, I would tell her, and I wished I had such a nice nose. She had beautiful skin, and in the spring, it would spawn dozens of freckles, and I loved them all. She had 2 beauty marks, one on her chin, the other on the corner of her mouth. "Beautiful Sue" I would say with great love in my heart, all the time thinking that my child was not only beautiful on the outside, she was beautiful inside, and she would smile smugly at the complement.
A better person, you will not meet. Gentle, kind, giving. She had a big smile and she used it to get attention. "Look at me, aren't I cute?" She was never angry - well almost. She would get angry at her Dad when he left for extended business trips. She would make him pay, withholding her hugs and kisses, avoiding his gaze, but trying to see him out of the corner of her eye while he tried to beg forgiveness and win her over. She made us all pay occasionally, but forgave once she had made her point. Her communications were so subtle, you had to know her well to read them, but they were there. A tilt of her head toward you, that was a hug. Face pressed up against your face, that was a kiss. If she gritted her teeth really hard, that was a big kiss with emphasis! She only offered hugs to special people, and kisses to a select few. You had to win her love.
Meica rode horses for 4 years. She roller skated and ice skated. We tried it all. "You can't do that!" Watch us! She loved to swim and somehow seemed free in the water, as if her body wasn't as much of a problem. She was looking forward to attending Shekinah Retreat Camp and seeing her extended family and friends there. She loved music with a passion. She attended music therapy twice a week, and it was a joy to see her play her instruments while Mr. Ramsey played accompaniment. She was interested in fashion, and wanted "cool girl clothes" she told me. She loved her jewelry, and wild colored nail polish. She was like any other little girl, you just had to know her.
She was definitely Daddy's girl. The love in her eyes when she looked at him was exciting and intense. Her big brother was her hero. It was earned. He was always proud of his sister, and defended her. He said if others laughed at Meica, it was they who had the problem. He was wise beyond his years. Meica had a group of young women, mostly university students, who were her caregivers. They were like Meica's big sisters, and she loved them greatly. They had earned the precious hugs and kisses. Meica had many friends, some known to us, others not. It was common to have her at the mall and have someone approach her, calling her by name, and thrilled to see her. We didn't know them, they were her friends.
It is said we are all here for a purpose, and in Meica's case, we struggle for the answer. I nearly lost her in pregnancy, and so why was she saved only to be trapped in an uncooperative body? If Meica ever was angry about her body, she didn't say much. She just called it a "bad body". As beautiful a body as it was, it didn't work very well. She worked hard to make it more functional. Some persons would tell me that Meica was here to teach us something. I wondered to God "What point was I missing?" If Meica's purpose was to be here to teach us something, she paid a great price. Much of my time was spent advocating for her; getting therapy, help with her care after I became unable to handle her, parental rights, dignified meaningful education, there was always an issue. Some we won, others we still haven't. Perhaps that is Meica's legacy. In fighting for her rights, we won some for others.
I once heard a woman speak who had experienced a near-death experience. She told of souls in heaven waiting to enter new bodies and return to earth. She said the highest souls were entering the bodies of children with disabilities. I believe that. I think Meica was a "higher soul". There was something special about her. She was so good, so unselfish, so giving. She was given lemons, and she made lemonade.
We had her for the best years - her childhood. We say good-bye with no regrets. It was as if it was scripted. We had all had a great deal of quality time with her recently. Her last few days were spent doing the things she loved most - swimming, ice-cream, shopping with Dad, spending the evening visiting with Mom, hanging out with Logan. She was home, surrounded by those who loved her greatly. She drifted gently off to sleep. What more could you ask?
We were proud of our beautiful daughter, and sister. We rejoice that she had a good life and that she has to struggle no more. Good-bye to our precious Beautiful Sue.
"I have truly enjoyed our year together, Meica. The children and Mrs. Brady and myself always looked forward to your arrival after lunch. They would often ask that special events take place in the P.M. so you could be with us. You generated a lot of love in our classroom. May God bless you and keep you in the palm of His hand.
V. Parker (teacher) Grade 1 Report
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