As I think of Mother's Day, which is only a couple of days away, my friend Glenda comes to my mind.
I first me Glenda on the phone. She said that she got my phone number from a common friend. Glenda wanted me to help her relocate to Hawaii from New York. She swore me to secrecy. Apprarently her husband didn't know of her plans. "He has become deranged," Glenda said.
Apparently, the cocktail of strong medication that the husband was treated with for a liver ailment had been causing behavioral problems which made life intolerable for Glenda.
I made arrangements for Glenda's lodging in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. When I met her at the airport, she had three small children in tow. I noticed Down's Syndrome in her only daughter, Mabel. Oh great, I told myself. She's starting from scratch in a strange place with three small children one of whom is handicapped. Just what she needs.
Glenda was a survivor. As a registered nurse (RN) she quickly found a job in a local hospital. She enrolled her kids in school and hired a part-time assistant to look after Mabel during times she could not. Eventually Glenda bought a house. Life was good to her.
After about five years in Hilo, Glenda called me one day and asked me to sell her house. She said that she and her RN friends were going to open a care facility in Honolulu.
After I sold her house, I didn't see Glenda again for several years until two months ago when I flew to Honolulu on a business trip. Glenda met me at the airport. Mabel was with her. I was amazed at how Mabel had grown.
In the swanky hotel room that Glenda had booked for me, herself and Mabel for the duration of my visit, Glenda and I caught up with each other. I learned that her oldest boy was with the diplomatic corps in a good job at the US embassy in Germany. Her other son was about to graduate from the University.of Hawaii. Her plans to provide for Mabel in her old age were already in motion.
Glenda said that Mabel was not 100% dependent. She can bathe, eat and put on her clothes all by herself. Noticing Mabel's loud snoring as she slept on the bed Glenda and Mabel shared, I asked Glenda if she hires anybody to look after Mabel at night.
"I sleep with Mabel every night. I've not been dating at all and have no interest to," Glenda responded.
As we were settling down to sleep another evening, I asked Glenda "When you were still pregnant with Mabel, did you know that you were going to have a defective baby and still chose not to have an abortion?"
"Yes," Glenda answered unequivocally.
It took me a while to digest Glenda's answer. I had to wrap it around my brain until finally just one word stood out --love.
Glenda's love for Mabel is bigger than life.
- Posted with Aloha
By ARIEL MURPHY