Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Meaningful Memories

Two years ago today, my little sister went to heaven. At nearly 41 years (she's 40 in the picture above), she had far outlived her life-expectation. She was physically & mentally challenged, yet in spite of her condition she left a legacy, through the efforts of our parents -- because our parents (along with a few other such parents in our community) foresaw the need their challenged children would have when they would be adults.

A pilot project group home was begun in the mid-80's in small-town Hague, Saskatchewan. That first home, Sunshine Housing, was an astounding success. So much so that, by the time of Vonda's passing on September 8, 2008 there were no less than 42 such homes around the province.

My sister Vonda had some of the best years of her life as an adult, with fewer health issues and great opportunities living in "her own home" in Saskatoon. Thanks in great part to the SAI program workers.

And ... the legacy lives on in the life of our youngest brother, also challenged, who even today enjoys a quality of life beyond our best imaginations for them. And of course, many others also benefit from the legacy -- not only those challenged, but also the support staff people and their families who benefit from the career opportunities and love these precious people have to offer. A whole industry has grown out of this legacy. Small town Hague thrives, in part, because of what Sunshine Housing has to offer -- they now have not one, not two, but three houses which are home to challenged adults & offering respite to their younger peers.

A Precious Memory:
As I had requested, my folks sent this picture of my little sister Vonda in a special dress Mom made for her:

The other day, we made another memory -- we dressed up our own little Faith Mattaya in that Holly Hobbie dress Mom made for Vonda. It fits Faith Mattaya at 18 months except for the length. Vonda wore it at about 9 years of age.

Dressing Faith up in this memorable dress is just like playing dolls. We doubled the precious memories!!!!

I am just so glad that we have the assurance of meeting Vonda in heaven one day ... and the knowledge that she is in a better place with no more suffering really blesses me too.


Vicki said...

What precious memories Darlene! Faith looks like a little doll in that outfit!

Bonnie C said...

Sweet memories of Vonda! I'm glad your parents have left such an awesome legacy, and blessed the lives of so many other families through their love and care for her and Vanden. Faith looks sweet in the dress, too. I also admire the great job you are doing in raising your children, and leaving your own legacy of caring for them and the earth.
May God continue to bless your efforts as a family, as you bless those around you with your gardening efforts. I know we've enjoyed our local "good food box" on occasion, which is similar to your baskets, though not always as bountiful. Love to you all!
Bonnie Cunningham