When Barb and her family moved into their home several years ago, they had no idea that Leah was a part of the deal. But she was…an integral part of the deal. I’m not really sure if Barb adopted Leah, or if Leah adopted Barb, but what I do know is that they did become as intimate as family. Not neighbors, family.
Barb called last night almost unable to speak through the sobs. After a brief sickness, Leah suddenly passed away; Leah was thirty-three years old. My heart dropped to the bottom of my chest and tears formed in my eyes as I listened to my friend grieve the loss of her
friend other daughter, as I sometimes referred to Leah.
Leah had Down’s Syndrome. Her speech was sometimes hard to understand. She called on the phone a lot, and she stopped over at the house even more. She ate dinners, helped sweep the floors and played games with the Freeman’s. She got in the car and went to track meets, choir concerts, volleyball games and more. She spent birthdays and holidays with her other family for years.
I hold Barb in such high esteem for so many reasons, and as I have seen her love Leah over the last several years, there has been even more cause for this esteem. Barb just loved Leah so easily. She welcomed her into her life as if she had been waiting for her. She didn’t seem to have to make room for Leah, there just was room. She had time and patience and eyes and ears and words and heart for Leah. I was almost envious of this relationship ~ in this way ~ I wondered if I would have room in my life for a Leah.
Barb’s daughter is getting married this summer and Barb told me Leah was so excited for the wedding! Leah couldn’t wait to dance at the wedding and Barb had promised her they would tear up the dance floor together. Last night Barb said in her mind’s eye she didn’t picture much this summer, but she did picture her and Leah dancing at the wedding. See what I mean? Barb loved Leah so much, so generously. I always thought Leah was so blessed to have Barb in her life, but as my friend sobbed and sobbed last night I realized just how profoundly blessed Barb has been to have Leah in her’s.
Rest in peace, Leah. You made a pretty big impact here, dear one. I know you are not waiting for the wedding to dance, I believe you are before the King and the party has already started. Dance on…..