I will be the first to admit, I am a crier. I cry for the happy. I cry for the sad. I cry because I feel one with life and when that life is nothing I've prepared for--I really cry.
I say all of this because reading Claire Montogomery's post at Car Dancing, I am reminded of my first visit to that hospital with her. Even if you don't finish reading my blog--read hers. Believe. It is true.
We walked into Mary's room and I immediately could see the difference in Mary. I felt the difference all around. But then again, maybe it was the hospital smells. The kids outside her room. The staff. The actual fact that Mary had been hospitalized behind locked doors. All these little moments, that I brought into the room with me--watching Claire with her daughter...simply brought me to tears. Not unheard of--even when Mary was discharged--tears again.
But tears for a different reason...not that she was being discharged--which of course is a reason to cry, but because I saw in the time Mary was hospitalized she was the exception to every rule--whether that was Claire's parenting...... practically losing her very white-collar, corporate America job because of needing to take care and ACTUALLY VISIT her mentally ill daughter an hour away (because the mentally ill/challenged truly do not have centrally located facilities), a few times a week...
Claire fighting for Mary's rights when other parents either have given up the fight or simply do not have the tools to bring to the table. I will never forget the time I sat beside my friend with a room full of hospitalites, listening to Claire speak. I had a moment of this is why she does her corporate job--so she can be THIS to these people...not just THIS mom who is fighting for her daughters human rights, but THIS woman who is standing up to what society says we can throw away...mentally ill people.
When Mary left the hospital, the staff and kids on her floor had a going away party for her..and of course--more tears fell from everyone's heart. She had opened up more loving light, giving depth to why these people do what they do everyday. She had made more friends, not only with her floor--but with adults simply working in this space. We all sat in a large circle, watching Mary open her gifts and I recall a boy with a boombox- listening to music. Adding more life to this surreal moment...
What you don't see about the kids in this space, at least for some--is that they have no one. Most of their families are not available, whether it's poor parenting or being mentally ill themselves--these kids KIDS--CHILDREN--PEOPLE--LIVING LIFE...have no one to love on them the way Claire loves on her Mary.
So--thank goodness, again--because Claire happens to be herself--she has made it her intention to love on these kids in the way we all want to loved on at Christmas...with a gift to remind us we are acknowledged beings. Isn't that why gifts make us feel good? Ultimately, it reminds us we are being thought of and loved.
So love on Claire.
Love on Mary.
"Happiness is only real when shared".....from Into the Wild
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