I feel like all my entries have been depressing lately but I guess it is just that time of year for me. Today was the anniversary of Braxton's death. 8 years ago today was the worst day of my entire life. Instead of focusing on that, I thought I would share some of the things Braxton brought into my life. Braxton gave me the opportunity to love like I never knew was even possible (as most firstborns do). He gave me the opportunity to give service and receive service from others. He showed me that unconditional love has NO bounds. He showed me that you can smile through life's trials (and OH what a smile!). He showed me during his therapy sessions that determination is essential for success. He taught me that Heavenly Father has a plan. He taught me to cherish family and friends. He got me absolutely addicted to children with Down syndrome. =-) He taught me that I am capable of doing more than I would have ever dreamed I could do. I'm still not sure how I dealt with all the stress of the hospital stays and surgeries. He taught me that 30 minutes of Barney can provide time to shower. lol He taught me that there is nothing in the world better than hugs and kisses from your kids. He showed me that I married a wonderful man who fell as in love with Braxton on day one, as I did. He truly showed me a world that I never knew was so much fun. I don't know how many of you have read, "Welcome to Holland". (printed below) I have to say I disagree with this. I have never looked back and wished for Italy. I love "Holland"! To me, it is the most beautiful place in the whole world and you could never convince me otherwise. I am so grateful to Braxton for letting us be his family and giving us 13 months to love and adore him. I can't wait to see him again someday! He is and will always be a tremendous strength to our family.
WELCOME TO HOLLAND
Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.