Thursday, April 06, 2017


Way back in 1978, my wife Ellen and I discovered that she was pregnant with our third child. It was all the obvious process of raising a family and growing with it. It was also a time of great trepidation. Having a child like my oldest, my daughter Ellen with a disability made us conscious of the possibility of having another child with that disability. We wondered and worried. Then 1979 rolled around and we would be facing the truth. A hard truth that we were never ready for and found too revolting.

There are few of us in this world thankfully, that ever have to face and realize the ugly truth of losing a child to disabilities, where every day you mourn that child. We as parents were ready only for the pain and suffering of mental anguish for us and frustration and disappointment for her, and so it was.

On April 6th of 1979, Joseph, our second son and the third child was born. The month before had been filled with false alarms about his coming until it actually occurred on the 6th. A trip to the hospital was a disappointment as we went home because of a false alarm not once but twice and had to wait for more for his arrival.

Joseph the first few hours would not eat, the nurse tried, then mommy did and still nothing doing. Then out of frustration, nurse and mom handed me the bottle and I tried, and he finally ate. It was a happy moment for me that he did eat, that so far, he was ‘normal’, and I was able to do it!

Over the next year notice his development was slower than it should have been when on Thanksgiving of 1980, he had a seizure that night for the first time. We took him to North Shore University Hospital, and all through the following two months, he got sicker each day that passed.

I won’t go on about what ensued, but to say this, it ended rather tragically for both him and his parents, when finally, on January 26, 1981, he succumbed to death, one we knew was coming.

Since that cold January day, I see him in my mind every day, I see his final lifeless body lying in the hospital bed covered with just his head and arms showing, and the nurse who so lovingly cared for him sobbing uncontrollably.

The harshness dissipates, the pain somewhat eases from moving on, but his memory will never die in my mind until I see him again in joy.


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