Wednesday, September 6, 2006

It's Not Easy Getting Older

It's never easy getting old. You can't avoid it as it happens to all of us. There's more health problems, aches and pains and such. We just don't have the activity level we once had.

But I find the hardest thing about getting older is that you attend more funerals.I have a cousin who is "special". For those unfamiliar of him - he's handicapped in terms of he can't walk, talk (though he can make sounds) and has the mentality of an infant. So he's "special".Though "special" is just a nicer way of saying he's "not normal". He is in fact "special" in many different ways. He does communicate in his own way. Of course, you would have to be around him to understand his communicating, but he can communicate.

I can remember at a family picnic one year, one of my other cousin's young daughter was afraid of him. Actually most young children would be if not around him for periods of adjustment. I remember my cousin trying to explain to his daughter in terms she'd understand and apparently "Poor Rodney" became her "term" for him. As she adjusted to him through family gatherings, she'd always say that "Poor Rodney". I didn't think much of it back then, but when I think of it now - it's insulting. The child was taught that because he was "special", you should feel sorry for him, and that's wrong. And though, I'm sure it was not intentional to teach the child this, it still was not the proper way to do it. Rodney has a good life. He has a good family that have cared for him for 45+ years. They love him...we all love him.

I'm thinking alot of Rodney today, as my sister called me yesterday at work to tell me Rodney had died in his sleep. His parents had found him in the morning; and as my sister and I cried...I realized how very much he had touched our lives and why hadn't I realized that before?  Yes, Rodney was "special".

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