February 12, 2011
I don’t quite remember when I first met you. I know that I first discovered your wide grin and advanced mischief skills through your mother’s blog. When I found out you lived nearby I was thrilled to meet you and your family.
While you might not remember me, I will always remember you. You and I didn’t spend much time together; maybe a game of patty-cake at a Down syndrome meeting, or a quick tickle when I stopped by your house. If I had a camera, you’d instantly put on your charm.
I got to know you mostly through the stories that my daughter, Miss Kate, would tell me. Boy, does she love you! She’d come home from caring for you and just beam. I can’t count the times she’d say, “Love that girl.” You’re one of the reasons she is planning on adopting children with Down syndrome.
Soon after Miss Kate left to work in the Peace Corps, you got sick. I eventually got my turn to help care for you. That’s when you worked your most powerful magic. How in the world were you, at age two, able to become a community organizer? I saw how you brought people in to you—from the housekeeping staff, to the powerful doctors, young children, college kids, to grandparents—all were drawn in to your circle of joy. You’d give a grin and bold wave on good days, and on bad days you’d give a sideways glance and the best wave you could manage.
Lois, you showed everyone how to be honorable and dignified. You stayed true to your mission of bringing love and joy to the people around you. The other day a friend of mine said she wished she could have met you. My instant response was that you’d have enchanted her. I think you are enchanting people still, pulling them in and teaching them how to be loyal and true.
Lois, I have been trying to figure out what impact you’ve had on my life. If I’m honest, I have to say that I don’t yet know. I think that it’s too early to say. You’re still making differences in my life and in others. I see how you’ve influenced generations in my family—from my parents to my own children. I imagine that my grandchildren will hear stories about you, and you will be still impacting lives.
You pulled my friends in closer to me. Introduced new people into my life. Gave me the opportunity to bake a whole bunch of peach cobblers, both celebratory and mournful. In your honor I think I’m going to have to change the name to “Bean Cobbler”, though I have to say, people might be a little afraid of a bean cobbler.
You did a terrific job, Lois! Well done.
Love, your friend,