Our December included a funeral this year.
We went to say good-bye to Mary, the special daughter of some old church friends.
Mary had born 58 years ago with Down’s Syndrome. That was back when it was acceptable – even encouraged – to institutionalize your special needs child. But Mary’s parent’s didn’t.
They took her home and loved her.
They made her a part of the family.
When she needed schooling, her mom helped start a special class for her and a few others in the area. They encouraged her and watched her grow to be a very special adult. She had a crazy sense of humor and loved to sing – especially the song Silent Night – no matter what time of year it was!
Mary loved life and lived it to the fullness.
Her siblings grew up and married, giving Mary new playmates – her nieces and nephews. They loved her dearly. There wasn’t a dry eye in the church on that cold Saturday afternoon at her funeral as one of her nieces told funny Mary stories.
Her death left a huge hole in that family.
A few years ago my niece Annie was born with Down’s Syndrome. I caught Mary’s mom after church one Sunday to tell her, knowing she – of all people – knew what our family was feeling.
Mary’s mom just gave me a hug and smiled. “Honey, it ain’t all bad. She’ll be a blessing, just you wait.”
Oh – how very right she was!
Little Annie is a blessing – a joy – a delight!
She makes our life – our family – richer because she is there.
Just like Mary did in her family for the least 58 years.
Good-bye sweet Mary. You have blessed us here for so long. Enjoy your first Christmas in glory singing Silent Night with the angels.
Thank you for showing us all that life is best lived with the joy and wonder of a little child.
You will be missed.