Cindy Love, my sweet, innocent sister was born 62 years ago today. My Mom said Cindy’s head was unusually small and that she almost died in infancy. She stopped breathing and turned blue. A nurse revived her by rubbing her tiny body to stimulate her circulation and gave her 57 years. For more than five decades my family and I lived in the presence of an angel.
I can’t imagine what life would have been like without Cindy. If she had died soon after being born none of us would have known she was an angel, like all people with Down Syndrome. My family and I would have lived the story of a sister dying in infancy. None of us would have known what actually came into the world on this day so many years ago.
My parent’s world was rocked when, at the age of one, they discovered Cindy had Down Syndrome. The world as they knew it crashed in on them when they heard the news. They had no experience or practice to guide them. They were left standing in a doctor’s office with a life sentence and had no idea what the rest of their life would be like and what this meant for our family. They left with so many questions rattling through their stunned brains and were faced with the necessity of making decisions neither of my parents had ever made before. How will they educate Cindy, what will life be like day-to-day, will she ever be able to live on her own or have a ‘normal’ life?
What no one could have predicted were the gifts Cindy would give each of us through the subtle beauty of her presence. She gave us a force of love that was unlike any we had ever known or witnessed. Cindy was simple, uncomplicated and incredibly tender. There was no fighting over anything with Cindy. There was no mine or yours. There were no secrets, closed doors or anger. There was no hurt and no need for apologizing. There was only simplicity and love. There was time and presence. There was peace and calm.
Her gentle being and simple presence forced me to examine what is important in life. She taught, through her tenderness, how to pause and truly see with love and patience. She taught me how to be kind to others who need more care than the rest of us. She taught me gentleness. Mostly, she taught me what innocence is and what a gift it is. We all invariably lose ours through the process of becoming an adult.
Cindy never lost her innocence. She was pure and unapologetically vulnerable till the moment her last breath left her. In that moment I rubbed her so tenderly I felt a piece of her life force flow into me. Her warmth moved in me and has pushed me ever since to seek understanding and the meaning of love. That is why I started these blogs.
Today, on Cindy’s Birth Day may a force of love flow into you to see the beauty of the simple. May the innocence that Cindy was enable you to feel love in it’s essence. May Cindy’s tenderness help you be more tender with your self, for that is where it starts. When we allow our selves to seek and feel love, the world begins to shift.
There are angels among us. Open your eyes softly to see them. Open your hearts gently to allow them in.
Open your self tenderly to be one.