Here are some empty concepts I will never use:
- May’s brain damage helped ________ so it was “worth it”
- It happened for a purpose
- I am a better person because of May’s brain damage
In a world right and proper, May would not be brain-damaged. There are many moments, every day when I look at May and all she has accomplished – which is both incredible and amazing – and I see past it to what she could have been.
That is horrible. It is. It is a fact more terrible and frightening and true than any of the empty phrases above. Without her brain damage, May might have done all kinds of things she will not now. I’m not even talking about marriage and a job and college, like most of us would try to do, I’m talking about things we totally take for granted: cook, read a magazine, style her hair.
I also see May for May. Her brain damage is a part of her and so she is not “that girl” she is May and she is beautiful and wonderful, despite the damage.
Here are some other truths that are far from empty:
- Good has come out of May’s brain damage.
May’s nursery manager and her husband are adopting. She told me a few weeks back that when they asked her what kind of child they wanted, they asked for a Downs or CP baby. Before May, she said, she didn’t think she could care for a baby like May. Now, because of May, another child will get a chance at a decent life that they would not have had. That is amazing.
- My family and I are closer because of May’s brain damage.
Maybe it is because tragedy brings people together and helps them put aside baggage. Or, perhaps it is because we all love May so much, and that is a common denominator. Or, maybe my family just have a lot of love to give. When they saw what was happening with May they, as my Dad would say, stepped up to the plate.
I’ve learned a lot from May, not all of it has been easy. But, not all of it has been bad either.
The proof’s in the pudding. A very happy May showing me how to party at a recent wedding:
And, here in action!