My partner Jay told me a story today about my family I had never heard. Apparently my father's cousin had a pacemaker put in his heart. The pacemaker then malfunctioned while he was at a bar and knocked him clear off the barstool. Now that's funny, but this is where the funny part ends.
Twice in one year my sister-in-law has had heart attacks. Her problem is congenital. She had her first heart surgery when she was merely twelve years old. My mother told me once my sister-in-law thought no one would want to marry her because she had scars on her chest. Well, my brother obviously did not care about that at all. They married quite young. They were nineteen year old college students at Colorado State University when they got married and they are married to this day. They are now fifty years old, which makes all of us old come to think of it.
Kerry and Michael, my sister-in-law and brother, adopted four children. All of the children have had challenges, especially the two girls. They adopted two sisters who had incredibly challenging childhood histories. The boys, also brothers, arrived to Mike and Kerry so traumatized they hid food under their mattresses because they thought they'd run out. It took some time for them to realize they had plenty of food with Mike and Kerry.
The girls are now in their twenties. One lives in a group home now, but the other is still with my family because the state of Colorado has cut all funding for group home placements. It's not an issue of not loving my niece, it's just that my family is tired. On the ballot not too long ago was a request to raise a tax some tiny amount to help get more group home funding. But Colorado voters turned it down. It seems people with disabilities still get the shaft in this country despite the slight amount of progress we have made.
Now my sister-in-law has a bad heart. But obviously has a good heart to have taken on four children the way she has. She is also an occupational therapist by training. My brother is a professional writer. Last Thanksgiving during our annual Colorado visit Jay had an upset stomach after our meal. Kerry whipped out an herbal remedy right out of her purse for him. She's very nurturing that way. It strikes me as odd that the kindest people on the planet seem to consistently get stricken with the worst challenges. It's a very strange and unfair world we live in. Kerry, Michael and all of my nieces and nephews are in our prayers. -Alison Whiteman