Friday, December 25, 2009

A Raisin Christmas: He Ain't Heavy

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I'd intended to do my normal Fiction Friday post, but the batteries in my mouse died and I used all the AA's loading up a Pegasus, a pelican, a laughing Ernie and a pair of race cars yesterday, so the copying and pasting required for Fiction Friday is out of the question.

Instead, I'm going to talk about my brother, Lynnie.

My parents waited 10 years for a son. They had 4 daughters, but Dad longed for a boy he could take fishing and teach to play ball. Finally, in September, 1955, William Lynn was born. But their joy turned to grief over the next few months as they realized the son they'd longed for suffered from the double whammy of Cerebral Palsy and severe mental retardation. Not nearly as much was known about CP then, and they spent the next few years, and God knows how much money, seeking a cure.

Today, although Lynnie inhabits the body of a 54-year-old man, he has the IQ of an 18-month-old child.

He lives in the Stillwater Center, a facility on the north side of town. After my father passed away a few years back, my 4 sisters and my brother and I, after farming him around from house to house for a few months, made the hard decision to place Lynnie at Stillwater, where the trained staff would know how to handle the increasing number of physical issues he faces.

Having to institutionalize him, after successfully keeping him home for so many years, left us all sick with guilt.

Our worries came to nothing, because from the moment Lynnie moved into Stillwater, he loved it. He's very extroverted, and being in a place where people are paid to cater to him is his idea of heaven. We bring him home for day-long, and occasionally overnight visits, and we we take him back, he cheers when we reach the parking lot.

It was interesting yesterday, watching my grandkids interact with him. A couple of the youngest, Lily and Danielle, are pretty timid to begin with, so it was amazing to me that both of them seemed almost instantly to realize they had nothing to fear from this big, strange man.

Now if I could just get him to share his toys....


  1. Thank you for this post, it really touched me.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Thank you for this, I'm glad your brother is so happy.

    Merry Christmas!!!

  3. What a beautiful post to the legacy of your parents and the strength of your family's bond.

    Lynnie is blessed to have you.

    Merry Christmas,indeed.

  4. Happy Christmas to you and Lynnie. He's lucky. He gets to see Christmas always through the eyes of a child. I'm jealous.

    Peace to you and your family at Christmas. Reading your blog is a blessing to me.

    Thank you.

  5. Merry Christmas Jeanne and family.

    Your brother Lynnie is lucky to have his family and his family is lucky to have him.

  6. This was a very interesting and touching post. Doc, my husband-like person, has a daughter with Downs Syndrome. She functions at a little older age than your brother, but at 44 is still very much a child. Watching my grandchildren interact with her is very interesting as well.

  7. Kids just know...

    I'm really glad your brother found his safe place in the world. So many, challenged or not, never do.

    Merry Merry to you and yours!

  8. Thanks for sharing this. Your parents did what they thought was best for your brother and so did you. I'm glad he is happy.

  9. Merry Christmas Jeanne! If your brother is happy where he is at..isn't that all that really counts! Thanks for sharing his story..:)

  10. Got stories about family too, thanks for sharing, and being so kind to him..

  11. Oh this brought on the tears, and now the story I read once comes to life...I had a cousin, Marilyn who also had this and also loved living in the home...she always made me smile...

    Happy Holidays girl!

  12. I'm glad he's happy :)

    Merry Christmas!

  13. A very moving post. My best holiday wishes to a good friend.

  14. Sweet!

    Things do really all work out, don't they?!

    So glad Lynnie loves it there. You must all be so happy.

  15. Knowing how happy Lynnie is gives me comfort knowing my nephew will be.
    Your family bond is strong and beautiful and Lynn can teach all of us so much!


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