I woke to horrible news this morning. My precious friend Heather Rose Brooks died.
A difficult delivery was responsible for the severe Cerebral Palsy. I am overwhelmed with anger reflecting on how much this sweet Angel suffered her entire life.
I have blogged about Heather previously. My life was enriched in the spring of 96 meeting the strongest person I have ever known. I assisted Heather with learning the augmentative communication software I use. She was a quick study.
The only movement that did not throw her tiny distorted body into spastic convulsions was tapping her right toe. This warrior educated herself through high school a tap at time. Our disabilities created similar health challenges. Heather would tap out long detailed emails describing her current health obstacle seeking my advice. The last ten years of her life they were numerous and terrible. She never once complained. One time Heather confided she was scared prior to one of her multiple surgeries. I asked the source of her fear, she was scared her respiratory system was not strong enough and would be ventilator dependant burdening her mother and caregivers even more. A child said this to me. The entire length of our friendship she never experienced a pain free day. Not one day free of severe pain yet she was always genuinely concerned in my well being. Despite the enormous burden a smile rarely escaped her face. Laughter easily erupted.
The greatest honor of my life was escorting Heather to her senior prom. I was asked after her father declined. He was embarrassed. I do hope he has the nerve to appear at the funeral. He will know my opinion of his character. Heather and I danced the night away in our wheelchairs.
Heather taught me you never have to look far to discover someone with a heavier load. I am thoroughly embarrassed that I have ever felt sorry for myself. I had 26 years of experiences she never knew. Even as a quadriplegic my challenges are pathetic in comparison. Heather, from this day to my last I will never pity myself. I will boldly charge ahead seizing every moment as you did my young mentor. I love you, David