Life’s Joyous Complications-a Tribute to my Sister

     Eradicating Complication complicates things. We are not better off for it. Life’s complications are part of the journey.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. -Jeremiah 29:11

Ulian Quinones, Arijeta Lajka CBS NEWS August 14, 2017, “What kind of society do you want to live in?”: Inside the country where Down syndrome is disappearing.

“With the rise of prenatal screening tests across Europe and the United States, the number of babies born with Down syndrome has significantly decreased, but few countries have come as close to eradicating Down syndrome births as Iceland.”

     My big sister, Theresa, suffered brain damage from oxygen deprivation during birth due to a condition known as Placenta Previa. When she was born, the doctors predicted that she would live her life in a vegetative state. They suggested to my parents that they put her into an institution that would be able to best serve her needs, as they would be too much for my parents to handle. They didn’t know my parents. They took their child home and treated her like they treated all of their other children, loving her and dealing with her needs as they presented themselves.

     My sister is now a grown woman. She works a fulltime job and lives on her own in a condominium that is paid off. Other than a ride to work she receives no government assistance, never has.

     Theresa is the most humbling, most inspiring person I have ever known. She shocks me with her wisdom and her wit. She is hilarious. She likes to say, “Do I look like a vegetable to you? What am I a carrot?” I told her recently that I was going to have the saying, “Well, at least I made you laugh” engraved on her tombstone. She makes me laugh all the time.

     I know that God has a plan and a purpose for my sister. She adds to her family and to the world. She helps us see the value in simple things. Theresa is so uncomplicated. She gets very excited about 25¢ raises. She works with the elderly and loves to sit with them as they talk about their lives. She perseverates whenever she thinks she’s left a conversation that may have upset someone. When that happens, she calls them back to tell them she loves them very much.

     I could go on and on about this sister of mine but suffice to say, my life would not be the same without my sister, exactly as she is. She is brave, she is sweet, she is smart in ways that many of us are not, she contributes to the world in amazing ways, she has a heart of love that pours out to everyone she knows, and she holds no grudges. I’m so thankful that my parents were not too afraid to take her home and raise her.

     I have known many people with Down Syndrome and I can honestly say that they have been the most loving people I have ever had the pleasure of being around. They too are uncomplicatedly loving.

     It makes me so sad that Iceland celebrates their eradication. Because of a fear of complication, they have killed off a people who had a plan and a purpose in their life; which, perhaps is to show others what uncomplicated love looks like. Sadly, Iceland does not realize that they are not better off for it.

2 thoughts on “Life’s Joyous Complications-a Tribute to my Sister

  1. I can certainly relate, Rita. My husband had a sister with Down’s Syndrome and to this day, something will happen and we’ll quote one of her little sayings and then we’ll always end with “that Ruthy sure was special”. She made us laugh and taught us how to appreciate the simple things in life. She loved wholeheartedly. This world would be such a better place if we had her (and your sister’s) attitude and outlook.

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