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Dedicated to Brett
Submitted by Anonymous
A journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step.
This thought kept me focused for many years. The life of a foster mother is a difficult, but an extremely rewarding experience. The challenge to remain cheerful and even tempered is the hard part.
I will never forget the day that the true love of my life came into my world. He was tiny, and seemed to have eyes as big as the noise he was making, screaming his exasperation at the world. I later learned the frustration of having a body that wouldn't do what he wanted it to do. Cerebral palsy is a thief who steals the body, but leaves a mind fully capable of comprehending the things you are not able to do. His name was Brett, and he was without question the most beautiful child I have ever seen.
My family thought I had lost my mind when I "volunteered" our family to become his new foster home when his older foster mom retired. He had already gone throgh four other homes that couldn't take his screaming.
I don't think I even stopped to consider the changes it would make in all our lives. I simply knew he needed me.
Two years later, my husband and I were divorced, my friends thought I was crazy, but Brett was making so much progress.
A friend coerced me out on a blind date, and an old friend turned out to be my "fix up." Three months later, we were married, and he was learning how to care for a child with special needs. We laughingly promised ourselves a honeymoon in Hawaii 'when we can get away."
A few years after that, we had to fight to have Brett included in school, and on that wonderful day he rolled down the halls of Westside for the first time, I remember whispering to a very frightened little boy, "It begins now, Brett. Show them what you are made of."
He did. He was an honor student for most of his life, and as his health failed, my husband and I would see less and less of each other due to the needs of our son.
Eight days short of his 20th birthday, Brett finally gave up his fight. We were devastated and friend kept telling us to get away. We had often teased Brett about our honeymoon in Hawaii, telling him he was going to be there too. Somehow, it just didn't wouldn't seem right without him. So, we put it off.
I thought I would lose my mind after Brett passed away. I spent months curled in a fetal position thinking life wasn't worth living anymore. I was fortunate however, that the wonderful man who took on a ready made family and a son with a severe physical disability was always there. He held me when I cried and listened when I railed against heaven for taking my baby.
Brett taught me many lessons. He taught me to persevere, even when the world is against you. He taught me that bigger isn't always better. Most of all, he taught that life is too short to spend it in grief. I am a lucky woman. I had the most wonderful child for 20 years, I have three beautiful daughters, and I have the love of a good man.
I'm not sure that Hawaii could be better than that. Maybe someday I will find out, and when I do I believe Brett will be there with me.