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Archive for March, 2015

Last week, Dave and I took a Babymoon trip to Florida. We flew into Miami stayed for a few days in South Beach then drove south into the Keys for two days. We had a lovely time. The weather couldn’t have been better, just what we needed to get through the rest of this crazy cold winter in Vermont. The last time we were in Florida was when we took Ella to swim with dolphins in Key Largo at Island Dolphin Care. Island Dolphin Care is a magical place where dolphin therapy brings children with special needs, children at risk, wounded veterans and their families joy and the discovery of new abilities. http://www.islanddolphincare.org

Ella was on our minds the whole trip. Driving down into the Keys, Dave and I both cried off and on thinking about the beautiful experience Island Dolphin Care provided for our family. Ella loved the dolphins, the warm water and the fabulous staff that worked with her for the 5 day camp. We had planned to take Ella back last year but she died two weeks before our travel plans. Our drive was emotional, cleansing and connected us to some very sweet memories with our beloved daughter.

One thing that Dave and I noticed during our trip was the surprising number of children with disabilities that we encountered in restaurants, on the beaches and shopping in South Beach and Key West. Every time I saw a family with a kid with a disability my heart and soul warmed knowing the amazing opportunity to learn unconditional love that special needs families have. I watched a handsome teenage boy play with his autistic sister in the waves on South Beach. I watched a beautiful young girl in a wheel chair with her Mom and Dad at dinner. She reminded me so much of Ella with her radiant smile and graceful slow repetitive movements. I watched my beautiful husband help a young disabled boy and his helper down the stairs to the breakfast table in our hotel. Each time I had one of these enchanted encounters I felt thankful for Ella and all she taught me about love, life and what is truly important. However, these meetings also made me miss her terribly.

I also started thinking about an experience I had twelve years ago when I was pregnant with Ella.  I was just about 9 months and Dave and I were walking together in a mall. We saw a family with a young boy who was very severely disabled. I remember stopping in my tracks as an overwhelming fear washed over me. I was thinking, What if I have a child who is severely disabled? How would I cope? Does life go on? Oh, if I could only have a conversation with my 29 year old self. I would explain that having a child with severe disabilities doesn’t ruin your life, it gives your life a much greater purpose. A dear friend gave me a quote a few months after Ella passed, I believe it speaks to the message that I am trying to convey with this post.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern, Beautiful people do not just happen.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross11021113_10206190381380857_7022708703687442587_nDay 3 Water (23)

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