It is sometimes funny and ironic how we bookmark and celebrate our lives by certain events and occurrences. This past week as we approached Memorial Day our family had such a turning of the page; we took the swing down. The swing hung over 30 feet down from a tall tree in our backyard. One had to crane their neck upward to see where the rope attached to a creaky limb. In another lifetime it was a never ending source of joy and excitement for Grace. That all ended of course when she was struck down by rasmussen's encephalitis.
The swing was Grace's swing. When we had a tree climber initially hang the rope our son was too old and big to generate the high arcs that Grace achieved as a young, lithe girl. There were many types of swinging that we did, the basic back and forth, the spinning top, and the large circular orbit swing to name just a few.
The swing was an instant source of joy for all of the kids that came over our house. The pure delight that each kid experienced for the 10 seconds or so when they swung back and forth is a childhood memory that we all share in one form or another. That delight, that fun ended abruptly in June 2008 when Grace experienced her first seizure and her life changed forever as she was quickly disabled by the aggressive onset of RE.
Following her hemispherectomy surgery we knew that Grace would never experience the feeling of freedom associated with the swing. Rather than being a source of fun, the swing became a reminder of what was, and what could have been. Although Grace never said a word it was tough when we had the neighborhood families over for our Memorial Day barbecue and the kids lined up for the swing.
After we took the swing down, Grace and I chatted and we agreed the swing represented both good and bad times. Now two years out from her second surgery she was in a place where she could say that it was time to finally take the swing down marking an end of one chapter in our lives and the beginning of a new one.
Happy Memorial Day. As we celebrate our freedom this weekend remember the troops and the fallen that make our lives possible. Please also remember the troops impacted by head trauma and the epidemic of epilepsy developing amongst our veterans. Thank you for your continued support, www.rechildrens.org.
Grace will be walking next Saturday (June 2) in Waterbury CT to support the cause of our good friend, Betsy Caridi. Betsy is Grace's vision specialist and is devoted in her work. A result of the hemi surgey is permanent partial blindness which requires special rehabilitative services. Betsy is the best at what she does. The cause is Walk Now For Autism Speaks. If you are interested in sponsoring Grace as she helps others please contact me at email@example.com.