One of my favorite people passed away - we found out about it today. Like most things in our lives this may have been an aside, something that others may not have viewed as a primary person or something.
To us, this person was very important.
She would write copious letters to my Dad who would write to her about what was going on and about the boy and what I was doing. Why, I don't really know because we were and are pretty boring but OK it is something to write about.... For a while it was easy, she lived near a close friend of mine and we had contact via my dad and my friend....then the internet made it easier yet....we had regular contact all the time. her comments were always uplifting, helpful- she would be so funny....her Chicago would come through and the talks about home were always good to hear....DA Bears, Cubs, White Sox, Hawks, Bulls, you name it she had her favorites and really understood the games and loved her teams. She loved to laugh.
She understood our son's aspergers. She had her own disability that had been mis-diagnosed on numerous occasions (I believe at last count she told me there were 30+ diagnosis). She got it when I expressed much frustration with a doctor, a nurse, and educator, anyone who said that they understood what we go through but don't live with it so ultimately don't grasp the whole life w/ a disability at all. When I told her that I told my son's first doc appt and the doc misdiagnosed him and i told the doc to stick it - she laughed and said her Mom did the same thing. We could talk about what the docs would tell us and if we thought they understood or were full of garbage.
Rather than make an unkind or unnecessary comment I knew she understood what we had going on. She put up with my rants and raves and frustrations and sadness. Then she told me at every opportunity that she loved us. She loved the boy and told him she got it when he would come home and tell us he hates his Aspergers. She wrote him and although he didn't respond I know he told me that he really appreciated it because not many people understand how hard things are for him.
She was one of those people who wore her Christianity like a banner. She was the good Christian person. I always wanted to be like her but knew I couldn't (I have tried and unlike her I would wish for a sledge hammer at times I do not have the perennially happy face). I was lucky enough to be her cousin, and although for many years I didn't have much contact I can say in the 5-10 I did hear from her very regularly and I was always happy to know that she had my back.
I will miss her funny comments and her reports about the weather. I will miss her text messages reminding me to not give up, telling me I was like her Momma who was tough, strong and smart. I will miss the phone calls where she would make me laugh and tell me that I was doing it right, even when I felt like I was falling flat on my face and not being "mother of the year". I will miss planning out what to send her this year....I will miss her.
Even her happiness with little things we would send, the joy she got out of every God-blessed thing. the anger she had when people would give the boy a bad time. The support she gave, never expecting or wanting anything in return....she got respect, love and even at times I wondered at her patience.
She was strong, brave, funny, smart and beautiful. She was my cousin and she would take me by the hand whenever we were kids together and I know she is taking me by the hand now. She is free of her disability and I am quite certain she is dancing and singing in heaven.
I will miss her dreadfully.