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Personal Perspective

Sat Nov 14, 2020 2:10 am

The election and COVID are not important today to me.

My baby sister would be 64 today.

She was born with a severe cleft palate which could never be completely corrected. We learned later that she also suffered some cognitive / mental disabilities. in 1963 my parents, and the other five of us, took her to be a resident at the Arkansas Children's Colony in Conway. There were no special education programs or teachers in our part of the state. My father turning his precious younger daughter over to strangers because they could give her care that he could not was the hardest thing I have ever seen any man do. It broke his heart.

But we soon learned they were not strangers. They loved her as much as we did, and helped her grow and achieve things we never thought possible. Four years later my youngest brother with Down's Syndrome was one of the first children at the second Children's Colony in Arkadelphia. My sister moved there a few months later.

We spent many weekends as a family on Lake Greeson, just a couple hours drive from Arkadelphia. My brother and sister joined us every weekend they could. My big sister, who is a year younger than me, became a wonderful special education teacher, others who knew my sister and brother did.

My sister moved from the Children's Colony when she aged out to a group home, then later to semi-independent living. She could read at about a fifth grade level, keep a checkbook. She worked as file clerk at Beehive Industries for many years. Over her years in Arkadelphia, she worked with many student special ed teachers and psychology majors as one of their first 'cases'.

She had a memory for names and faces that had to be experienced to be believed. At the funeral home before my mother's funeral she greeted many people by name that she had not seen for 40 years. Her special love was her five nephews, but especially her four nieces. She taught so many people what was important about life.

She also had other physical issues. Her feet never grew above a child's size 2, some 'non-standard' bone placement in her hips and some other problems. Her last few years were not pleasant physically. In late July, 2018, the Lord called her home, to take care of our mother and father in Heaven.

Hold your family close, and tell them you love them. Someday too soon, you will not be able to touch them, but they will always hear you, your love and if you can quiet your mind, you will her them tell you of their love for you.
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Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:14 pm

Re: Personal Perspective

Mon Nov 16, 2020 4:41 pm

God Bless your family.
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Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:38 am

Re: Personal Perspective

Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:27 pm

Thank you Rfields, I always enjoy your posts. You have LIVED life and always provide support to others that we ALL should live and love and cherish those around us and value the life we have.

I wish you and your family well in these odd and difficult times. Hold on to what is special in others and thanks for reminding us all to do the same.

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Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:07 pm

Re: Personal Perspective

Mon Nov 16, 2020 5:48 pm

Thank you for sharing, it sounds like you have a wonderful family. My Aunt was born several years after me with Down syndrome, it's a funny name if you think about it. I am glad they changed the name. Anyway, she never spoke, only grunted she loved music and would dance when she would hear music, it was delightful to see. She also went to a home, when she was 8 and lived there her entire life. She died in her 30's. The staff loved her, at the funeral many of her caretakers spoke of her with such love. I am so thankful for homes such as these. While she never progressed and could only grunt. She taught me much about the capacity to love and care for others. As I get older, I appreciate that fact that the world is full of good people who devote their lives to take care of those who need the most help. Our humanity, and capability to love has always amazed me. I am thankful for you sharing the story of your family, your perspective. It's lovely.

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