Love Need Not End

A very, very, very long time ago I wrote about seeing an elderly woman being supported by her son with Down Syndrome. She was a wheelchair user, something that at the time seemed new to her, and he carefully guided the chair around people and other barriers. I wondered, then, if she ever, when he was born, imagined a time where he would not only be her world but allow her access to the world.

As it happened Joe and I were back downtown pushing through the mall where we used to see them. I had forgotten them, busyness and preoccupation can push everything else aside. We rounded a corner and there they were. They were sitting at a coffee shop enjoying the holy trinity of Tims, a chat, a coffee, and a doughnut.

Something was different this time though. He was not alone. He was with a woman who also had an intellectual disability who he loved calling his wife, she in turn used the word husband at every possible opportunity. His mother watched them as they chatted with each other and with her. They had done everything. Gotten the coffee and treat, found the table and made a place for her at it.

She looked so happy.

So deeply happy.

He was loved. He was loving. She had always known he had this capacity. But now he was using it to build a life that would outlast her.

I have met parents, a few, who refuse to allow their children to grow into adults who have relationships. I have met executive directors of organizations that have policies that disallow love burying it under a log jam of policy.

What they fear, what they forbid, is what freedom does.

She looked so happy.

So deeply happy.

His world was so much bigger.

Her loss will be keenly felt, but it will not mean the end of love for him.

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