Memories

siblingsToday’s post is just a personal post.  Since my dad died last Fall, I have found myself to be much more reflective and so many memories that were deeply filed away in my mind have found their way to my consciousness.

The picture to the left is a picture of my two sisters and myself.  While I don’t know the exact date, it was probably taken about two years before my older sister died due to complications from Down’s Syndrome.  She was just nine years old at the time of her death.

When my sister, Donna was born, the doctor encouraged my mom and dad to institutionalize her.  The doctor thought my mom and dad were young and didn’t need to be “burdened” with a Down’s Syndrome child.  My mom and dad summarily dismissed his recommendation, brought her home, and loved her until her death just nine short years later.

I was three years old when my sister Donna died.  Thus my memories are pretty sketchy.  But from what I have been told, my sister really loved me.  After all, she was a 7-9 year old girl and I was a “living” doll with which she could play.

Growing up in my family, I was very aware that I had an older sister who died as a child, but I was too young to grasp the depth of the loss.  Now that I am a parent of four children, I can better understand the depth of pain and loss my parents must have experienced.  When each of my four children turned nine years of age, I contemplated what it would be like to lose them which made my heart break for my mom and dad.

Not too long ago, while talking with a lady from TN, I discovered she had a brief video of my parents and my sister on 8mm film.  Of course, I wanted a copy of that clip, no matter how long or short it was.  So this lady actually had it copied to a DVD for me, and I presented it to my parents.

For those of you who remember Donna, and for those of you who know my parents, you might find the following video interesting.  This video was recorded in 1959, making my mom and dad 25 and 26 years old at the time.

As I watch this video, here are a few thoughts that come to my mind.

  • While I miss my dad, I’m happy to know that he is able to be with his daughter, Donna.
  • I know that a person’s value is not measured in what they accomplish in life, but by in whose image they are made.  Due to Donna’s mental shortcomings, she would have never been “normal,” but she was made in the image of God; her innocence was a daily reflection of God, and she taught others to love like God.
  • I know that the imperfection in Donna’s body wasn’t nearly as glaring or noticeable as the imperfections in the souls of many “normal” people.

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Comments 8

  • What an absolutely precious and priceless clip. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Children with Down’s Syndrome are the most loving children I have ever been around. I have taught for 32 years and now retired but of all the many children I have taught, a little boy with Down’s Syndrome stands out as the most loving child I taught. He was a happy little boy, never complained about anything I asked him to do, and had a friend who was chubby and slow but he loved him like a brother. I am sure your sister was a true blessing to your parents because of all the love she gave to them and you and your sister.

  • I do remember Donna. I was about 8 years old at the time. My family went to West Street at the time then later went to Weirton Heights and still do.

  • Great post. Handsome, happy family.

  • Steve
    Thanks for the memories however, I think of you all every day as I reflect. On Gods faithful servant Frank.
    Your parents were visiting in our home one day Donna somehow made it to the basement door, next thing heard was her falling down the steep steps THEN THE SCREAMS OF ROSE AND MY MOM ALICE. But the cooler heads of Frank and Ted calmed things dow
    N as Donna smiled. She was very young then..
    GIVING her back to God was sad yet rejoicing because she was with the Father waiting for us all

    MayGod continue to bless you with your wonderful memories
    Thinking Love, Darlene McKinley Weirton, WV.

  • Dear Steve,
    I, too, remember your sweet sister, who passed to her next life on my twelfth birthday. Her sweet nature and unconditional love for everyone continues to touch my heart. Although she was only with us for nine years, her influence is felt to this day. Much love to you and your family as you continue to grieve the physical loss of your dad and Donna.
    Susan (Wright) Finley

  • I remember Donna when your parents lived at Wellsburg. Your dad used to play Sorry with me! Precious memories!

  • What a moving tribute to your parents. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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