Sunday, December 4, 2016

Love, Not Labels

I'm bogged down mentally! I've been working all day on one person's family. I had already started the narrative/story and came across some information I hadn't seen before, which needed more research before I could finish the story. Little did I know that what I'd run into would be so sad. Luckily, the glads outweigh the sads in my project! 

Having a developmentally disabled sister has made me hyper aware of "labels." What I ran into today, among other things, were the names given to hospitals for people/persons with disabilities.  I must tell you that when Marcy was born, and soon diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy, my parents were told to "put her in an institution." There was NO WAY that was going to happen. Mom and Dad did not want that kind of life for her. And, for us! Marcy has blessed our lives and I can't imagine how her life would have been had she not been surrounded by her loving family. Well, I guess I do know because after Mom died, we were instructed, by Mom, to enter her into a care facility because she knew we couldn't do what needed to be done for Marcy medically. We did enter her into a care home and after that an adult foster home. All bad experiences.  Three times I tried to have her move into our home only to have three big answers from God that that wasn't in His plan. I digress...

Today I came across some information about ... care facilities ... for people with mental issues, developmental issues and for children whose parents couldn't take care of them. The sad thing is what they called these places:

Topeka State Hospital - Asylum for the Insane - 1879 - Topeka, Kansas - renamed 
State Asylum for Idiotic and Imbecile Youth -  1881 - Lawrence, Kansas - renamed and moved
State Home for the Feeble Minded - 1909 - Winfield, Kansas - renamed
State Training School - 1920 

One of our ancestors gave his children to this institution because he couldn't provide for them, supposedly. However, one of his daughters was still there when she was 25 and then I can find no record of her. She is not listed in the cemetery of the "school." Adding to the confusion, some of these siblings that were put there did not know where the others were and were still trying to find them in their elder years. I plan to have all the questions answered (!) and publish them in my book. (I do have lofty goals!) 

When I think of these siblings my heart aches. How many of them went to their graves not knowing their siblings? They were starved for information. Some of their letters to their half-siblings practically begged for information about their family, and especially their father. 

I say this to you: if you haven't seen or spoken to your siblings recently, you need to make it a point to reconnect. Life is short. 

And, by the way, Marcy lives with brother Brian and his lovely wife, Cindy, and their family. She has blossomed in their expert care and loving home. Thanks, Brian and Cindy, you are awesome!

Ta ta for now,

Nancy

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