********************I have learned first-hand that there is a fantastic group of people who make up the Blogosphere - people who post caring comments, who send caring emails, some who even take the time to send a caring card the old-fashioned way (provided they know my address, that is!). I have come to know some truly wonderful people who have cheered me up when I've been down, who have shared both tears and laughter with me, who have been there just like a friend in "real life" would be - sometimes even more so.
So ... now that I have sufficiently buttered you all up and made you feel good about yourselves (which you should!), I am going to ask a colossal favor. Knew there was a catch coming, din't cha? Well, yes, there is and I'm truly hoping that I can take advantage of your good natures by this simple request; a request that will cost you nothing but a click of your mouse and a tiny bit of your time.
My best friend in the whole world Cyndi, who lives 3,000 miles too far away from me in California is going through one of the toughest weeks of her life, as is her husband Jeff. After over 20 years of having her youngest son Daniel, the child who is her heart, at home with her she is now facing his placement into a care home. We have talked of this possibility for years and every time it was mentioned, no matter how remotely far away it might have been, tears would fill Cyndi's voice on the other end of the phone. This is something that she knew would come eventually but that she put off as long as physically possible.
Daniel, bless his heart, is severely autistic at a low-functioning level (Maddy help me out with this one, is that right?) and he is prone to very violent outbursts from time to time. Outbursts that have put holes in walls, put broken glass in Daniel's head, caused trips to the emergency room, and awarded countless bruises to both Cyndi and Jeff as they tried desperately to keep their son from hurting himself during one of these episodes. These incidents have taken their toll on both parent and child and is the main reason that they have opted to have him placed outside of their home in the hands of people who are specially trained to help children and adults with developmental disabilities - people who are better able to physically handle the demands of Daniel.
From the time he was diagnosed with autism around age 3, Cyndi has been a fighter and a champion for her son. She has taken on school systems, doctors, administrators, and a long line of others who have stood between herself and the best care possible for her son. She has been tireless in insuring that Daniel's needs have been met, that he has received not one iota less than his due from his teachers, from the staff that works with her, and from herself, Jeff, and her other two children.
But it has taken its toll and neither Jeff or Cyndi can physically do it anymore. Daniel is a big boy at age 20 and both of his parents face health issues that make it near impossible for them to handle him without injury. Jeff has arthritis that seems to get worse every day while Cyndi has been battling fibromyalgia for years (a disease that caused her to step down as one of the best dispatchers I have ever had the pleasure of sharing a console with), painful cervical disk issues, and now debilitating sciatica that will require spinal surgery. As much as they love Daniel and want to keep him at home they know that just isn't possible anymore so this week they will take the final steps that will put Daniel in placement in a home that is close but certainly not close enough as it isn't theirs.
I can only imagine the pain that Cyndi and Jeff feel and I am sure it pales in comparison to the pain that I felt in putting Jamie on a plane several weeks ago. My daughter may not be physically with me but we can talk on the phone, we can write letters - we can communicate. How do you communicate from afar with someone who can barely speak? How do you get that person to understand that you didn't abandon him or love him any less because he no longer lives with you? These are the things that tear Cyndi's heart out even more as she doesn't want her boy to think that she and his father have abandoned him or sent him away for something he did. I can't begin to fathom this kind of pain but I do understand that words of comfort and encouragement can go a long ways in the healing process and that's where you folks come in.
A little over a year ago Cyndi set up a Blogger account and posted just one single solitary post explaining the reason for the existence of her blog and why she never really planned on doing much with it. True to her word she has done zippety-do-dah with it and she even disabled comments on the thing. Well, sneaky best friend that I am, I was able to remember her log-in information from a time she had asked me to check something for her and she had been physically unable to get out of bed to get to her computer so it was pretty easy for me to go into that one post and enable comments.
What I would like you to do, am asking you to do, is to please take a few minutes out of your busy lives (and trust me, I know they are truly busy!) and stop by Cyndi's blog and leave her an encouraging word or two. Even though it's sporadic, she reads my blog enough to know that there are some fantastic people out there and she knows that you guys have pulled me up by my bootstraps a time or two also. I have sung your praises to the skies when I've talked to her on one of our many long-winded long distance telephone conversations and I would love nothing more than to show her the power of the Blogosphere first-hand.
I don't ask this for myself, I ask this for a friend whom I love dearly and her husband whom I think the world of also - good people going through a really bad time. If you'd like to leave some words of encouragement or support, please go to 90 mph uphill-in-Reverse and leave a message before Cyndi realizes I changed her settings!
Thanking you all in advance!