Friday, 21 October 2016

Thank you and Goodnight...

This week a very lovely lady that I know died. She was 42, a mother, a wife, a daughter and a professional. Her worklife was devoted to supporting and helping adults with learning disabilities- ensuring they had a safe home, access to work and an environment that met their needs. Her home life was one of happiness - she had longed for a child and had 3 years ago been been blessed with a beautiful little baby. She was a vivacious, enthusiastic, hilarious, dynamic, intelligent woman - her company made you feel confident, heard, understood and, as one friend described it, lighter.

When my daughter was diagnosed I sought out those who I had faith in, those whose experience or understanding meant I could talk to and who I believed would give me solace in our time of need. I will never forget the advice she gave me. She told me to just carry on as normal - to treat her like anyone else, not to suddenly see her as 'different'. Instead to embrace any of her nuances and expect nothing less than I would have done when bringing up my eldest. If my eldest got to have swimming lessons, do that with her. If my eldest sat on the step when she misbehaved, so should my youngest. She told me never to be embarrassed, never to worry what others thought/think, to focus on our road ahead and keep walking towards our goals.

I listened, digested & followed her advice and I truly believe my family is healthier for it. What she taught me was acceptance, not tolerance. She showed me that diagnosis is positive and it's not the label that counts but how you approach it. I wish I had let her know more vigorously what an impact she made on my life, her words entirely changed my approach and my reaction to our news. For the short time I knew her, she altered the future path my family would take and there simply aren't enough adjectives to describe the gratitude I feel for her wisdom and advice. It seems painfully unjust that her entire family is now bereft of such a lady. It made me realise how fortunate we often are as women to have these encounters, these friendships and how, in such a short time, we can share so much.

So thank you, thank you, thank you. Every conversation we had changed my perspective and opened my eyes to the very real possibility of hope and happiness. I wish that your time on this earth had been longer - you gave so much to so many and I know that you will always be remembered. 

Goodnight my friend xx

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