Let me introduce you to Hughie, one of my dad's cousins. I've known Hugh all my life. One of his sisters is my age.
Hugh has Down Syndrome. He is one of the sweetest and purest people on this earth. He is so full of love for everyone. The kind of pure love that makes the hardest person soften. He hugs you and says he loves you and you know he is completely without guile. His dad says that there aren't any strangers to Hughie. Just friends that he hasn't met yet.
Just look at this smile:
I have been living the past couple of days to see this smile. When he smiles, it lifts your heart. When he is sad, as he has been since he wanted to go home, and his face crumples, my soul crumples a little bit inside, too.
He has been in the hospital for the past week or so with what they think is Parkinson Disease.
He has wanted to go home so badly. Imagine how your four year old child would feel in the hospital without his parents being able to be there or visit every day, and you can imagine how poor Hugh has been feeling.
And today, his mom and dad came to bring him home!
Here are his mom, Janie, Hugh, and his dad, Richmond.
They are the rocks in Hugh's life. They don't have much in the way of material possessions, but they have given Hugh everything necessary to flourish, and more.
These days, his dad, Richmond, has shown me what it is really like to love. Janie has been really ill. They're not quite sure what is wrong, only that she has symptoms of early dementia, and what appears to be Parkinson's as well. She is really ill. Richmond has been tenderly caring for her as he has Hugh.
He and Sis were having a conversation the other day about things. Richmond loves to garden but has been unable to get out and do any, since Janie is so ill. When Sis expressed sympathy that he was unable to garden, he said:
"Oh, that's OK. I'll have the rest of my life to garden."
He's 83 years old.
And you know what else? With the trials that he has faced and stress that he is under that would try the strongest of men, he said:
"My biggest fear is that I will get so tired that I will be impatient with Janie or Hugh."
In my opinion? Angels are not only in heaven. They walk on the earth.
I was able to hug one of them today.