The Simple Life


My brother is just so funny. I feel blessed to have him in my life. He makes me laugh so hard.  It’s wonderful for my mother to share this time with him too, since he had been living apart from her for many years.

I’ve noticed that he and the other people with special needs bring home beautiful pictures. The other day I was looking at this picture and I said, “Kevin, this is not yours. You’ve taken someone else’s picture by mistake.” He promptly picked up a pen and crossed out the other persons name and wrote his own name on the top! Then he said, “There you go.” As if life is just that easy. Take what you want. I wonder how many times he’s seen that done I thought. “Hmm,” I said. “He’d make a great attorney!”

My mother and I were laughing so hard at him. In his world forgery was nothing. If you like it, make it yours.

I looked at all of the artwork and started looking at the things in my home. I realized that life is just too short to collect things. The beauty of simple things that the artwork my brother produces, is better than anything one can purchase.

I sat in my living room and was sad when I noticed a small cardboard box which held the belongings which my mother was left with after being moved from her home. I took a picture. I cried to think this was so important to her.The Barbie dolls which she used to knit clothing for. No one could believe that she could do this and it was something that she took great pride in. The little Charlie Brown that plays music. The pictures. I managed to get the bronze shoes from my brother Dennis who had passed away as a baby. These she somehow never lost in all of her shuffling through the years. It is difficult to see my mother’s life reduced to a cardboard box. But then I look around and feel the weight of all the things in my life holding me down. I don’t want anything in my life. I can’t stand things holding me back from what is important. I hate greed and what it does to people. It hurts me to see what it has done. I don’t want to take care of things. Although I love looking at my brother’s pictures. And my mother’s things. It’s cute, but we all have the propensity to collect. So I want to bring joy to other’s by giving.

Now I got my mom into a pottery class to learn something new. She was making me laugh with her antics. When the teacher told her to “pinch her pot,” she said, “What?” “Yea, I said, “That meant something completely different in the 70’s!” Now she’s learning a different skill at 82 and she’ll be able to make new memories and so will I.

I realized that life is not about owning things. In fact the more time I spend with my mother, the more fleeting I see that our time is on this earth. I see that those who have robbed and tried to fill their lives with things, are missing the most important qualities.

My mother and I listened to my brother talking last night. He was telling us about the lipstick that he was going to give his girlfriend at school. He was going to put it in his purse. It’s really a fannypack. He crams all kinds of stuff into that purse. Sometimes I’ll check it just too unload some things. It’s so stuffed full. I just have to see what he’s carrying around and it’s funny. Pictures of things unrelated. I try to connect the subjects, but can’t seem to and move on. The objects make no sense,but they amuse me.

The keychains that I have given him have all found a place on this pack. I have actually had to remove some,because it has become unsafe. The weight of this is ridiculous. And the fact that one of them is a round basketball for coins, makes it hilarious with his gait and when he bowls, underhanded, my son made the remark that it’s a good thing I didn’t give him the bull’s you know what, to hang from this pack, or it would be quite a sight to behold, when he bends down to bowl! This visual just made me crack up.

He is very animated. And when he tells us that someone threw up at school it’s hilarious. He is over the top. I don’t think it happened the way he tells us and at times, I only wish I could place a hidden camera on him. There was one day that he told me that one person threw up and another girl was told that “she stinks and needed to go into the bathroom,” while the teacher was spraying the bathroom. And later, he said the same girl was his girlfriend. My son, who is not easily grossed out, said, “Come on, I don’t want to hear this! You’re girlfriend stinks!” And my brother as proud as could be, said, “Yes, she stinks! Right?” Wow! That’s unconditional love at it’s best! And, all I can say is, those special education teacher’s work very hard, and deserve pay raises!!! Treat them well. They’re very special people.

But,people like my brother are also very special and he keeps me centered. I sometimes find I’m taking him for granted and when I come back to him, I find humor in his simple words and beauty in the world around him. It is just what God was trying to point out to all of us and the reason He told us that “the meek would inherit the earth.”

Look at what a mess we have made of all of this. Greedy people have tried to use people like my brother for selfish gain. I’ve had people say, “They look at your brother like a throwaway.” That has brought me unspeakable pain.” Yes, even at his birth they thought he wouldn’t live. But God had a different plan. And his plans were to bring men to repentance through my brother. Yes, my brother who is so innocent. Who would take an art project and cross someones name and sign his name, would do this with anything. He knows no difference. He tells me everything costs “a hundred dollars.”

But who cares? My brother puts everything in perspective. Whether it a billion dollars or a penny, in his mind it’s the same price. Just as the value of a soul is worth more than everything. And as the Lord has said, “Woe to the man who gains the whole world, yet loses his own soul.”

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They Put the ‘Special’ in Special Ed


Now I’m really getting tired of these stories of Special Education, teacher’s making fun of their students.

This is a very unique job and one which requires people with compassion and sensitivity. I know. My brother was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. He would appear completely ‘normal,’ accept, he has the mentality of a young boy and he has a slight gait, due to cerebral palsy. Oh, and his vocal cords were severely damaged, making it almost impossible for people to communicate with him.

He is a sweet loving person. Innocent as a child can be. Which also makes him, very easy to exploit. He had many along his journey, who have taken advantage of him. He has scars on his arms from serious burns he experienced, and still it’s difficult for me to determine what happened and by whom. He explains in his best language, which I can understand. He was working at his job at Pizza Hut. They had him washing the dishes, (which he shouldn’t have been doing.) He had some kind of a spray washer and it was scalding hot. It burned his arms and he was taken to the hospital. He tells me, “They gave me shots. It hurt.” I always get very upset when I hear this.

I know he lived in a small town, before I went to bring him home to live with me. In this town, there was an organiztion, which claimed to be, A Supportive Living organisation. Which basically meant, they would take all the people with special needs and cram them into little apartments. They had a couple ‘caseworkers,’ check on them at some point during the day.

My brother lived with a guy named, David He had a bad temper, and repeatedly abused my brother. I only found these things out, by talking with the other people in this apartment building. One woman told me that my brother was so sick. And she called the agency to have them take him to the doctor. They refused and she took him herself.

I was furious to find out about all of these things. Incident reports are supposed to be filed and family notified. But these poor people have had their basic human rights, stripped away. I see a long scar on his back and wonder at this as well.

Since I was a young girl, I had grief at the loss of my brother to a state institution. He was placed later with a loving family. Then he was placed again, in a group home. I had visited the group home, many times. I liked the people running this home. They were loving and my brother and other resident’s loved it.

Then it was closed, to begin the grand scheme. The supported living, was nothing more than a cover for a money laundering scheme. They had all of them sign up for funeral trust funds and started placing the funds into them. A bunch of attorney’s and tax exempt specialists. Using my brother and others like him, as their cash cows. One scam after another and never stopping to think about the care of their wards. They were just throw-aways.

I am getting very upset at the manner in which people treat them. When I stepped into an elevator at the courthouse yesterday, a woman was talking to her friend about something. She said, “That’s so retarded!” The hair stood up on the back of my neck, and short of glaring at her with an angry remark, I bit my tongue.

How can ignorance come to an end when even, people who claim it’s racist to mention color, make songs, referring to being retarded? Unless someone actually has a loved one who is mentally challenged or has some disability, there seems to be no empathy.

After reading this story today, I wondered, why would these people devote time to careers which involve people with ‘special needs,’ when they don’t even like them? It breaks my heart to hear these stories.

It seems to me that an appropriate punishment for these teachers and so-called, professionals, who have exploited their students and wards, should be placement in a ‘special education class themselves. A place where they would see how truly ‘slow,’ they are. That they have no grasp or concept of what ignorance really means. The word retarded or mentally challenged. If they truly understood, they would realize that it applies to their own behavior.

The special needs, which my brother has and everyone like him, are the need for love and compassion. Everything else falls into place, when those needs are met. And those needs aren’t just reserved for people who are like you and me.

My brother has a companion who comes to take him to his social functions. I feel so blessed, because she is a woman who has chosen this profession because of her desire to make their lives better. There are some who only choose these professions because of pay. Well, I have news for these people, if that’s the motivation for entering this ‘very special,’ field. There won’t be enough pay to satisfy. Without passion for people like my brother, they are going to be miserable and make his life miserable as well.

As a man reminded me the other day, “If you love what you’re doing, you never work a day in your life.” My request for all of you is, to please choose another line of work. Stay away from these very special people.

I’m also speaking as a word of warning. The Lord told us; “The least of these are the greatest in the kingdom of God. A time is coming when the ones who have brought harm to these people, will give account.

After posting this, I saw another horrible article about someone abusing these people. This certainly seems to be an epidemic. And yes, I’m positive it was for their Social Security payments. I believe the government needs a special task force, to investigate all of these people and the money trail. At the end, I believe they will find fraud in the majority of cases.