"...And that's okay. She may be different but she's still my precious daughter."
I have a special needs
daughter. She is 22, beautiful, sensitive, gentle, loving, remarkably astute and has an amazing sense of humour.
Faye is very adult in many ways, sophisticated beyond her years, yet she has never learnt to read, write or add.
Often when I'm out with Faye, I notice people staring at me with pity or embarrassment. It's an unnecessary sentiment. Of course it's hard work but all children are hard work.
Recently, on my annual checkup with my doctor at the Linksfield Clinic walking through the car park, accompanied by Faye, I somehow managed to trip off the curb between the doctor's rooms and my car. Faye and and I were having a mommy-daughter chat and then my head literally hit the bricks.
When I opened my eyes again, a small crowd had gathered. Through a haze I heard, 'Yes casualty is on the way. I've ordered a wheelchair. Yes, there's a lot of blood.'
None of this registered as I tried to lift my leaden head, searching for Faye, who was sitting to the far side of the curb, out of my reach, her head hidden between her knees, sobbing, uncontrollably.
I tried to signal to Faye that mommy was going to be okay, but found the signals between my brain and body were offline. White noise rushed through my head, every sense and signal from my brain misfiring. I was lost in Faye's familiar world - confused, overwhelmed, on sensory overload.
Unknown faces were blurring in and out of my personal space demanding my immediate attention, yet my primary concern was reassuring Faye and ensuring her safety. I wanted to yell out to her, reach out and grab her, pull her close to me! But I couldn't - all I could do was feel the frustration and agony that Faye experiences on a daily basis. Her unspoken and unheard voice.
I tried crawling toward Faye but a firm arm held me back, urging me to lie still and be calm. Enraged, helpless and misunderstood, my mind and body were throwing a 'terrible two's tantrum' on the inside. It was then I heard someone ask if anyone knew who 'this other strange hysterical lady' was?
That did it for me! Whether it was, an adrenaline rush, pure terror or indignant fury - I jolted into reality, words were pouring out of me in no particular order. The 'strange hysterical lady' was my precious, terrified, epileptic daughter that everyone needed to back off IMMEDIATELY of.
Relief flowed through me. We were going to be alright, Mommy was back. Daddy and Gran were on the scene in 5 minutes. Faye would not move for anyone. She was stone. The wheelchair was hovering, the clinic sister tapping her foot waiting to whisk me away. I called out weakly to Faye to please go home. She refused to budge. Dad moved in gently and spoke soothingly to Faye. She sobbed even louder.
I knew what was going on in Faye's head:
"The sister is trying to take mommy to casualty without me."
"Mommy is bleeding from her head and the bandages are full of blood."
"Mommy can't talk or walk. She must be very sick."
"My best friend died in this clinic from a brain tumor."
"If I leave mommy here maybe she will die from her brain (tumor) too."
I signaled to my husband, Jeffrey to ask everyone to move away. With trepidation, Faye held my hand as I explained that I had fallen and only needed patching up. I asked Faye to tell me why she would not go home with dad when he asked her. She looked at me with her soulful blue eyes and said, "I needed to protect you, mommy. There was no-one to watch you. You were bleeding."
"I love you mommy," she added, her voice brimming with emotion, her hand tightening around mine. As I climbed into the waiting wheelchair at casualty, I thanked my precious Faye for protecting me, apologized to her for causing her pain and terror. We hugged, kissed and told her I was the proudest mom on earth. And I was and always will be!This column was written anonymously. If you'd like to do the same, send your thoughts to email@example.com.
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