This week I learned that one of our eSpecially Parents writers, Donna, passed away in November. She had battled breast cancer a few years ago, but it apparently came back quickly. I was last in touch with Donna in mid-September, but after that, the eSpecially Parents Series took a back burner in my life, and I lost touch with her.
I met Donna when her son Ben was in preschool with my son Ben. Her son was known as B.O. and ours was B.M. Besides the silly initials and same name, both boys were not mobile. Donna was going through a rough time in her life with her soon-to-be ex-husband, and we were both dissatisfied with the education and services our Bens were receiving at the school. I felt an instant connection to Donna, and we talked when we could. Donna's Ben had a smile that drew you in. I knew that despite his mobility issues, he loved people and craved attention. He was not a child to be written off or shoved in a corner. And Donna knew this - her love for him was obvious.
Our Ben left the preschool abruptly after some particularly bad care, and I lost touch with Donna. I always wondered about Ben and Donna. I had tried to call a few times, but she had a lot going on and it was hard for her to stay in touch.
Years later at a local children's library, our Ben found the other Ben and Donna sitting on a bench. My mom was with me and we all gave hugs to one another (my mom had met Ben and Donna at the preschool). The connection we felt with this family was full of love. I was so happy to have found Donna, and we then stayed in touch through email and some phone conversations. When I started the eSpecially Parents Series, she was a person whose story needed to be shared. Her perspective was different than other families I knew.
If you have not read Donna's story, please read it here. Her love and devotion to Ben is clear in her words: