Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Living with a Loss

A month ago my uncle died of a heart attack after botched eye surgery. He was 48 years old, with Down syndrome and congestive heart failure. Because he wasn't much older than me, he was almost like one of my brothers. Those of you who are familiar with Down syndrome know that many sufferers never develop a mental capacity beyond that of a pre-pubescent child. His case was very severe. He couldn't live on his own, and he couldn't hold down a job. His death is one that could've been prevented if the proper measures had been taken with regard to his surgery.

My point is not to place blame, but to contemplate this loss in my life. I saw him every day for the first 19 years of my life. After I went to college, I made a point to see him whenever I would visit. He was always happy to see me and would give me a big hug. Over the past few years his health started to deteriorate and I had planned to visit my family this summer so that I could see him again. Unfortunately, I never got that chance. That hurts because he was a very special person. He touched a lot of lives in big and small ways, and I know his memory will live on. The thing is, I think this loss will be tougher for me, than many others have been. His innocence was something rarely seen in adults. He was someone who truly loved unconditionally because that's all he knew how to do. He was able to hold on to the pure love that we all feel as children, that is eventually tainted by our life experiences. One thing we can all learn from him is to search for that pure love that once lived inside of us and let it break free. The people in our lives that we care about deserve that kind of love. Rest in peace, Uncle Danny. I love you.


  1. I'm very sorry for your loss, Michelle. My cousin has Down syndrome and I always find his kind of naive, warm hearted way to be very inspiring.

  2. I don't know why it put "germans" by the way, lol! I tried to log in with my google account. Looks like that didn't really work :D Claudia