Monday, February 21, 2011

In Memory of Bethany

My friend's daughter died yesterday. She didn't have a heart defect, as so many of my friends' daughters have. It wasn't her heart that let her down. It was her heart and her spirit that made us love her.

My friend's daughter was a special needs child. A child who was abandoned. Unwanted by some but very much wanted by one very special lady. Dee Dee saw past Bethany's disabilities and fell in love with the spirit and heart of a warrior. Dee Dee was more than a nurse and a mother to Bethany. She adopted her legally but more than that, she made Bethany part of a world that would otherwise have forgotten her, discarded her like a broken doll. Dee Dee brought out Bethany's humanity and showed us all that her special little girl had something to share with the world and she would be the messenger to help Bethany deliver her message.

Bethany was paralyzed. She was blind. She couldn't talk like most people but she could communicate. Dee Dee loved Bethany. She made her dresses to match hers and her sister's. Bethany rode proudly in her wheelchair to church and other events. Bethany was part of our community and although there wasn't much that most of us could do for Bethany, we could acknowledge her. We could smile at her smiles and if we could see past the paraphenelia necessary to keep Bethany alive, then we could see an angel here on earth.

Bethany is no longer here to remind us of the fragility of life. She is no longer here to touch our hearts because of her courage. Doctors told Dee Dee that Bethany wouldn't survive, but Bethany had other plans. She beat the odds time and again. She made a mother tiger out of Dee Dee -- one of the strongest child advocates I know. Bethany taught Dee Dee what it means to fight and she fought the good fight.

Rest in heaven, sweet Bethany. Maybe now you can run and play, laugh and sing in a way you couldn't do here on earth. I hope that you can. But I also hope that you can send a rainbow Dee Dee's way, or maybe a butterfly or some kind of sign to let her know that part of you is still here and that part of you will be watching over her now.  Dee Dee was your guardian angel for years, Bethany, but now it's your turn to be hers.

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